For Andrew Barbosa, one of the most intense moments of his Friday night masterpiece came not with the ball in play but when he came off the field and looked to Visalia skipper Bill Plummer following the eighth inning.
"I was jogging off and I'm looking at my [manager]. If you're done for the day, you get a handshake; if you're not, you get a fist pump," Barbosa said. "So I'm coming in and I'm looking at him and I'm thinking, 'Please do not put that hand out.' He gave me a fist pump and the pitching coach [Gil Heredia] gave me a fist pump, too."
Barbosa recorded a career-high 14 strikeout and tossed a three-hitter for his first Minor League complete game as Class A Advanced Visalia beat Inland Empire, 2-0, at San Manuel Stadium.
The D-backs prospect threw 80 of 118 pitches -- 13 over his usual limit -- for strikes.
Barbosa (9-7) lowered his ERA in the hitter-friendly California League to 3.79 in his first full season as a pro. He threw six scoreless innings in his previous start and has given up over four runs over 33 frames in his last five outings.
The 25-year-old left-hander had senses his recent performances were building to something special.
"From the past starts, I knew it was coming," he said.
There was one element, in particular, that allowed him to be so dominant.
"It was my fastball command. I had my fastball command on the inside of the plate, so I could get off the plate with my changeup. When I can do that, my changeup is my best pitch," Barbosa said. "Sometimes my fastball is kind of everywhere. Tonight, I walked only one person, and my defense -- Jake Lamb made some crazy plays at third base."
The first hit he gave up was a single in the opening inning to Angels No. 8 prospect Alex Yarbrough.
"That [pitch] missed. It was supposed to be inside and it was on the inner part but caught way too much of the plate," Barbosa said. "Yarbrough is a great hitter. If you leave the ball there, he'll get a hit."
The University of South Florida product retired 11 in a row before issuing his lone walk in the fifth. It was at that point that he noticed the 66ers changing tactics.
"They changed their approach at the plate. I don't know if their coach talked to them or what, but they started taking a lot more," Barbosa said. "Instead of throwing more off-speed pitches, like they probably thought I would, I went back to the fastball more often and kept them off-balance."
He got a double-play ball to end the inning and stayed out of trouble until the seventh, when Inland Empire picked up its other two hits. The first was a bunt single by Angels No. 9 prospect Eric Stamets. Zach Borenstein, ranked 16th in the Angels' system, poked a one-out single through the right side to put runners at the corners, but Barbosa struck out Michael Snyder.
"Oh, my gosh, that's when I knew the night was going to be good," he said. "I was getting a little tired. Snyder is a great hitter, too. I knew if I could get Snyder out, I could get out of the inning. He was the only hitter who was on my cruveball. He knew when I was going to throw my curveball. It went to 3-1 and I threw him three changeups. I was glad he chased one of them away."
Barbosa got out of the inning with a ground ball, then worked a perfect eighth and ninth.
Lamb, Arizona's 11th-ranked prospect, was 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.