Musgrove has way with Yanks in 'Cats win

Astros prospect faces one batter over the minimum over six innings

ValleyCats right-hander Joe Musgrove ranks third in the New York-Penn League in four categories. (Kevin Pataky/

By Mark Emery / | August 17, 2014 1:07 AM ET

Joe Musgrove had just one regret from his outing on Saturday night.

That was all his final line -- six scoreless innings, one hit, zero walks and four strikeouts -- would allow.

"The one hit, I wish I could take the pitch back," the Astros prospect said after Short-Season Tri-City's 6-1 win at Staten Island. "It was the one pitch of the day that I left up in the zone. If I get it down, I think I get a ground ball there, maybe a swing and miss. But I can't complain about the outing. The numbers looked real good today."

Chris Breen's line-drive single up the middle to start the bottom of the third inning gave the Yankees their only baserunner against the ValleyCats right-hander, who induced 10 groundouts and two flyouts while facing 19 batters.

The 2011 first-round pick improved to 6-1 and knocked his ERA down to 2.91 in 13 games, including 11 starts, this season. He ranks third in the New York-Penn League in four categories: strikeouts (58), innings pitched (65), WHIP (0.97) and opponents' batting average (.219).

Saturday marked his third scoreless start as well as his third start without a issuing walk in 2014.

"I used my fastball a lot. I pounded it with the fastball," Musgrove said. "I think I mixed speeds well when I needed to, when I felt like they were getting timed up. Got a few sliders in there for putaway pitches. But I mainly relied on my fastball, man. Just moved it in and out, elevated when I needed to. Just tried to beat them with the fastball."

It's made more impressive by the fact that the heater was coming in a few ticks slower than it typically does.

"It felt good coming out of the hand, but the numbers weren't the same on the gun," Musgrove said. "But coming out of my hand, it felt like it was coming out about upper 90s, mid to upper 90s, kind of where it's been.

"But I think my demeanor, I just have the mentality that I can't be beat out there, that I'm better than whoever I'm facing, with the confidence and conviction I have behind the pitches. I put them in good spots and they didn't really show me that they were doing much with them, so until they were going to prove differently, I just kept with the same plan."

The 21-year-old was drafted by Toronto three years ago but was dealt to Houston in 2012. This season is his first outside the Appalachian and Gulf Coast leagues, both Rookie-level circuits.

"The main thing that I'm happy about is I'm able to go out there every day and compete every fifth day, that I'm staying healthy and I'm keeping myself on the field," the California native said. "The past couple years, I've battled injuries. It's been upsetting because I haven't been able to get out there and show them what I can do and what I have.

"I've been competing. There's certain days I'll go out there and I won't have my best stuff, but I'll compete and I'll do what I have to do to get outs. And it's worked out for me well."

Chris Munnelly followed Musgrove and gave up a run in the seventh before Bryan Radziewski tossed two hitless innings for his first professional save.

Derek Fisher homered, doubled and drove in two runs for Tri-City, which also got a two-run shot from Alfredo Gonzalez. Staten Island's Ty McFarland went deep in the seventh inning.

Yankees starter David Palladino (5-5) allowed three runs on four hits and four walks over five innings, notching one strikeout.

Mark Emery is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Emery. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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