It's become a regular thing to watch MacKenzie Gore mow down the opposition. He was doing the same thing Thursday until he ran into a power bat.
MLB.com's eighth overall prospect dominated the opener of Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore's doubleheader with San Jose en route to a 7-1 victory. Gore threw four perfect innings and gave up just one hit over six frames.
After retiring the first two Giants in the seventh inning on four pitches, the southpaw was an out away from a complete game. Then the game's No. 75 prospect stepped to the plate.
Gameday box score
Gore (5-1) worked Heliot Ramos to a full count, just his second three-ball count of the night. But the outfielder wasn't fooled by Gore's challenge fastball and barreled the payoff pitch over the left-field fence, knocking the 2017 Draft's third overall pick out of the game.
"I had him, 1-2," he said. "I had some big misses and then it was 3-2. We're up by seven though, so you're going to have to beat me. I threw my fastball in the middle of the zone and he hit it hard. It was one of those things where, yeah, I could've put some spin on it and had a better result, but I'm not going to walk a guy when we're up 7-0. I had to make him beat me and he did it."
Challenging hitters is a big part of the 20-year-old's game.
"Competing is fun. That's why I play the game. I love to compete," he explained. "Once I get between the lines, all I see is that you have a different jersey on. It doesn't really mean any more to me. I want to get you out."
Gore allowed two hits without a walk and struck out nine, throwing 84 pitches (57 for strikes) and lefty Fred Schlichtholz closed out the game by inducing Courtney Hawkins to ground out.
"Today was good," he added. "It was definitely one of my best starts of the year, if not my best."
Baseball's top-ranked left-handed pitcher dropped his ERA to a California League-leading 1.17. His 73 strikeouts rank second behind Modesto's Ljay Newsome with 84. The Padres No. 2 prospect hasn't allowed more than a run in eight of his nine total starts this season.
In all but one outing this year, Gore has fanned at least six batters. The Wilmington, North Carolina, native hasn't issued more than two walks per game while recording four scoreless starts. Only one of Gore's outings lasted fewer than five innings, but he struck out a season-high 11 batters in the 4 1/3 frames he worked. He finished May with an 0.99 ERA for the month.
2019 MiLB include
He's been outright dominant in his first season with the Storm, but he isn't allowing himself to think ahead.
"I take it one day as a time," Gore said. "There's always stuff I can do better. I'm not looking at the results, I'm looking at how I execute. Until I hit every spot in the game, there's always room to get better."
Ramos has played just three games since returning from a month-long stint on the Injured List with a left knee injury. The Giants No. 2 prospect, who went yard in his second straight game, is batting .296 with a 1.048 OPS in 21 games for San Jose.
San Diego's No. 19 prospect Jeisson Rosario went 2-for-4 with a triple, three RBIs and a run scored while Robbie Podorsky turned in a 3-for-3 game with three runs. No. 13 Tirso Ornelas, No. 15 Luis Campusano and No. 25 Esteury Ruiz each tallied an RBI.