Owens pitches gem, rights ship

Red Sox prospect carries no-hitter into sixth inning

Henry Owens ranks second in the Carolina League with 62 strikeouts. (Carl Kline/MiLB.com)

By Robert Emrich / Special to MLB.com | May 31, 2013 8:17 PM ET

Henry Owens found a way to put one of his worst starts behind him by producing one of his best.

The Red Sox's No. 5 prospect tossed five no-hit innings before yielding a run on two hits in the sixth Friday night as Class A Advanced Salem edged Myrtle Beach, 3-2.

Owens retired the first eight batters before walking Chris Grayson with two outs in the third. He promptly picked off Grayson to end the inning and set the side down in order in the fourth.

The 20-year-old left-hander worked around another walk by striking out two in the fifth and retired the leadoff man in the sixth before Grayson doubled to right field and scored on Drew Robinson's two-out single. After a wild pitch, Owens got Rougned Odor to fly out on his final pitch of the night.

"I threw a changeup for a strike and it should have been for a ball and [Grayson] was out in front, kind of hit it down the line," Owens said. "I was hoping it would fall foul."

In his previous start against the Pelicans, the 2011 first-round Draft pick surrendered eight runs -- six earned -- on five hits over 3 1/3 innings on May 11. The difference between the two outings boiled down to fastball command.

"Well, last time I threw against these guys I had the worst outing of my year," said Owens, who struck out seven and walked two on Friday. "I tried to establish my fastball early and work everything off that. I was getting some good early outs and getting some strikeouts when I needed them. I got into a rhythm pretty early and stuck with it through the sixth inning. It felt good."

Owens also was able to effectively work in his breaking pitches.

"[I used my] changeup and kind of two variations of a curveball," he said. "They had a lot of lefties in there. So one curveball that kind of started at them and one that was 12-to-6. They were both working."

While he did not figure in the decision, Owens is 3-2 in 10 starts with a 3.53 ERA that ranks 10th in the Carolina League. He alternated good and bad starts in May, allowing two earned runs or fewer three times and failing to get through the fifth inning in the other two.

"I think it just goes back to fastball command. Not walking guys, limiting guys who get on base," he said. "From here to wherever I end up, I'm always going to rely on that. I'm walking guys, I'm just giving guys free at-bats, and that's not going to work."

Owens exited with a 2-1 lead, but Noe Ramirez (1-0) gave up a run on three hits over two innings. Matt Price pitched around a hit in the ninth en route to his second save.

Henry Ramos drove in a pair of runs and Red Sox No. 15 prospect Keury De La Cruz reached base twice and scored a run for the Red Sox.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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