For the second straight outing, opponents struggled to make contact against Alex Fagalde.
The Cardinals prospect allowed one hit and tied his career high with 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings Saturday as Class A Peoria topped Clinton, 5-1, at Ashford University Field.
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"It was a little bit of everything," he said. "I was throwing my fastball, curveball and slider and some splitters. I used the off-speed pitches to set up the fastball. That fastball was probably the pitch I used the most tonight. I just tried to throw a lot of strikes, and that was the pitch doing that."
Fagalde (6-3) retired the first five batters he faced before Keegan McGovern singled to left in the second but got Johnny Adams to ground out and end the inning.
"Over the last three outings, I've really learned how to trust my best stuff," he said. "Throwing for strikes and trusting that the end result is going to be good, I just want to keep doing that and letting my defense work."
The right-hander sat down the next 16 LumberKings, getting Ariel Sandoval, Ryan Costello and Eugene Helder all swinging in the fourth and punching out Jack Larsen, McGovern and Adams in the fifth to make it seven straight strikeouts. When Fagalde fanned Helder to complete a 1-2-3 seventh, he matched the personal best he set when he whiffed 10 at Clinton on June 3.
"I felt like I was really trying to attack the zone the whole time," he said. "Some of those guys were really battling with two strikes, and that really did bring up the pitch count a little bit. I felt good the whole time. I felt strong out there. I just was trying to throw a lot of strikes."
Last time out, the 24-year-old also yielded one hit in a five-inning performance against Great Lakes. He hasn't allowed a run since July 12 and boasts a 1.63 ERA that would lead the Midwest League if he had enough innings to qualify.
"There hasn't been anything specific," the UC Riverside product said of his recent dominance. "I guess over the course of the season I've started to really trust my stuff and I've gotten away from trying to just touch every corner of the zone. I'm just trying to get it in the zone and get it over the middle and you know what -- if it gets hit, it gets hit. But more than anything, I'm just attacking hitters and also trying to keep the pitch count down."
As for giving up two hits in his last two starts, Fagalde said, "I'm not really sure [how that's happened]. I feel like the fastball has worked really well for me, but I think what's setting that up is being able to throw off-speed pitches for strikes. I think my curveball has probably been the biggest secondary pitch for me. When I throw that for a strike, it kind of opens the top of the strike zone for my fastball."
Patrick Dayton struck out five and gave up a run on three hits over the final two innings for Peoria.
Cardinals No. 8 prospect Elehuris Montero homered, while Yariel Gonzalez picked up three hits and two RBIs and J.R. Davis doubled twice to lead the Chiefs offense.