Pedro Payano was all about adjustments Monday night. Opposing hitters couldn't counter with many of their own.
Texas' No. 27 prospect turned in his longest and best outing of the year, allowing just two hits over 7 1/3 innings as Class A Advanced Down East blanked Carolina, 5-0. He struck out four and walked three.
"I felt the same as other outings, it's just I tried to not make the mistakes I've made in others," Payano said through interpreter Alex Rodriguez, the Wood Ducks' athletic trainer. "I stayed consistent with the gameplan and didn't deviate like I have in the last couple of outings."
Gameday box score
Entering his seventh start of the year, Payano sported an 0-2 record and a 5.06 ERA, having allowed 15 earned runs over 22 1/3 frames in his last four outings. He took a major step forward against the Mudcats.
"All I was doing today was try to stay consistent with what I was doing," the right-hander said. "I was actually going for my first victory, so I had that in mind. I kept pitches in the zone. I was trying to get a lot of ground balls today.
"I played with conviction, and I trusted my defense behind me."Video: Down East's Altmann makes reaching dugout catch
Payano (1-2) dealt with traffic on the basepaths in his first three innings, but never broke. The 22-year-old walked No. 5 Brewers prospect Isan Diaz with two outs in the first inning before first baseman Josh Altmann made a highlight-reel catch on a foul popup by Jake Gatewood to end the frame. In the second, seventh-ranked Lucas Erceg singled and Trent Clark walked, but he escaped the jam. One inning later, he issued his final free pass to Milwaukee's No. 2 prospect Corey Ray.
After getting couple of looks at Carolina's order, Payano found his groove. The sixth-year pro retired 15 straight from the second out of the fourth through the first of the eighth.
"All I did was try to change a little bit of their rhythm and I pitched backwards," he said. "I pitched curveball first and finished them off with my fastball, which was different from the first two times that they came up to bat."
In the eighth, Mitch Ghelfi doubled and Payano plunked Weston Wilson with a pitch behind him. In total, Payano spun 57 of his 97 pitches for strikes and generated seven outs on the ground with four in the air.MiLB include
Wood Ducks reliever Jacob Shortslef cleaned up the eighth, fanning Ray and catching Luis Aviles looking to end the frame. Brady Feigl struck out a batter in a perfect ninth to seal the win.
"I trust my bullpen," Payano said. "I always root for them no matter what they do, but today it was great to get the shutout. It was a team effort, and I'm very happy with the result."
Gatewood went 0-for-4 to halt his 23-game hitting streak. The Brewers No. 25 prospect went 32-for-86 (.372) with 10 doubles, four homers and a .443 on-base percentage over that time.