When Bowie starter Jacob Pettit told his trainer he was experiencing elbow soreness during a game against Akron on May 4, the coaching staff decided it wasn't worth sending him back out for another inning of work.
In hindsight, that move might have saved Pettit's season.
The left-hander allowed one hit over five innings and the bullpen took care of the rest as the Double-A Baysox blanked the Portland Sea Dogs, 2-0, on Thursday.
The outing was the deepest Pettit has gone into a game since returning from the disabled list and it gave him his first victory in almost seven weeks.
"My elbow just started to tighten up," Pettit said of the start at home to the Aeros. "I told the trainer and my manager pulled me out of the game. We caught it early.
"I was rehabbing it, but it was mostly just rest. I saw the doctor and he said it wasn't anything too serious."
The 25-year-old was officially placed on the seven-day disabled list, buy he did not pitch in more than three weeks. Thursday's outing was his fourth game since the injury and his most efficient start of the season.
He allowed one hit -- a second-inning single to Matt Spring -- and had little trouble mowing down the Sea Dogs lineup before reaching his pitch count.
"I felt like I had really good command of my pitches tonight. I felt healthy and everything was working," he said.
"I was on the same page as my catcher [Allan de San Miguel] and that was huge. It was a day where I didn't have to shake him off a whole lot. This is up there, top five maybe. Everything felt good and my arm felt good."
Pettit (4-0) worked around a walk to Juan Carlos Linares with two outs in the first inning and he stranded Spring at first base in the second by setting down the next two batters.
"It was a two-seam fastball down. It was a good pitch, but he stuck his bat out and got it," said Pettit, who acknowledged he would throw that same pitch again in the same situation. "I executed it well."
After surrendering the base hit, Pettit cruised. He allowed just one other baserunner to get aboard as he retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced before turning things over the bullpen.
Left-hander Michael Belfiore struck out one batter over 2 1/3 perfect innings and closer Greg Burke set down all five batters he faced to nail down his 13th save of the year.
"I didn't really get a chance to watch Belfiore because I was back in the clubhouse, but they both had really good games, said Pettit, selected by the Orioles in the 42nd round of the 2010 Draft out of Western Oregon University. "They did a nice job. Burke is a go-to guy and he has been lights-out."
The win gave the Baysox a sweep the Sea Dogs and extended their season-high winning streak to seven games.
"Starting pitching, man, wow," said manager Gary Kendall. "We keep pitching like that -- throwing a lot of strikes -- we are going to do well. Everybody did a nice job. [The bullpen] has been really good. It all starts with pitching and defense and we got that tonight."
The outing lowered Pettit's ERA to 3.38 and gave him his fourth victory of the year. Over his last three starts, Pettit has allowed just one unearned run over 11 innings.
"I am still on a pitch count," he explained. "I threw maybe 65 pitches tonight, but it is day-to-day to see how I feel. If it feels good tomorrow, I will probably be up to 80 pitches next time. They won't rush me into anything."
Bowie designated hitter Rhyne Hughes plated the first run of the game with a third-inning sacrifice fly and shortstop Manny Machado doubled the advantage with a two-out RBI single to center field in the field.
Portland starter Chris Hernandez (3-6) allowed two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out one batter over six innings in the losing effort.