Fightin Phils' Anderson flirts with no-hitter

Solo homer by Devers breaks up gem with one out in seventh

Drew Anderson is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 21 strikeouts in three starts since the end of April. (Carl Kline/MiLB.com)

By Michael Leboff / MiLB.com | May 14, 2017 3:52 PM ET

Following a rough start to the season, a slight mechanical adjustment has Drew Anderson rolling.

The Phillies' No. 22 prospect continued his hot stretch on Sunday, allowing one run on one hit and striking out seven over seven innings, in Double-A Reading's 2-1 win over Portland at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The start of the season wasn't kind to Anderson. After his first four starts, the 23-year-old right-hander sported a 8.59 ERA and 1.77 WHIP. 


Gameday box score


That's when Reading pitching coach Steve Schrenk offered a suggestion.

"I made a mechanical adjustment after the first few starts by lengthening my stride," Anderson said. "The first couple of outings, I was short and cutting everything. Steve Schrenk noticed it and it's helped me to throw strikes on the outside corner. It's helped out a lot."

Video: Reading's Anderson goes seven strong

The 2012 21st-round pick has looked like a completely different pitcher since making the change, compiling a 1.80 ERA and 0.50 WHIP with 21 strikeouts over 20 innings this month.

Anderson made quick work of the Sea Dogs early, notching a pair of strikeouts on his way to five straight outs. After hitting Joseph Monge with two outs in the second, he settled back down and put away the next 14 batters.

"I just went back to my breathing out there. I was able to get comfortable again and into my routine to get back into rhythm," Anderson said. "My slider and fastball were both working really well and I was able to throw my curveball in any count for a strike."

Anderson didn't allow a hit until top Red Sox prospect Rafael Devers sent a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left-center field with one out in the seventh. 

"I hung a slider right in his bat path. It didn't look like it was going to get out, but our park is pretty small," Anderson said.

Video: Devers' homer for Sea Dogs breaks up no-no

Playing in a noted hitters' haven may seem daunting to some pitchers, but Anderson uses it as a tool to aid him in developing his arsenal and his approach.

"In some ways, this park is helping me out a little bit to make sure I keep the ball down and keeping hitters off-balance by throwing my off-speed for strikes," he added.

Just as he did after plunking Monge, Anderson didn't let the mistake rattle him. He got two quick outs to complete the seventh for the second straight start.

"It kind of added fuel to the fire for me," he said. "I wanted to get the next guy. It's always about getting the next guy, especially after giving up a home run."

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Jesen Therrien (1-1) took over for Anderson in the eighth and allowed one hit while fanning three in two scoreless innings.

Phillies' No. 11 prospect Scott Kingery hit a leadoff homer and Andrew Pullin went 3-for-4 with an RBI for the Fightins.

Portland starter Kevin McAvoy also put together seven innings of one run ball, scattering seven hits and striking out six. Ty Buttrey (1-1) gave up a run on two hits while recording two outs in the eighth.

Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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