Chad Reineke isn't making any excuses for his rough start this season. If his outing on Wednesday is any indication, he won't have any excuses to make in the future.
Reineke (2-2) yielded one hit over seven dominant innings Wednesday night as the Round Rock Express shut down the New Orleans Zephyrs, 5-1.
The 25-year-old right-hander struck out four, walked four and induced 12 ground-ball outs, including two double plays. He entered the game with a 10.00 ERA in five games (four starts) after going 7-8 with a 3.00 ERA over 144 innings last season between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Corpus Christi.
"It's on my shoulders," Reineke said of his early-season struggles. "I'm learning the hard way. If I make a mistake, hitters in Triple-A are waiting for it. Even tonight, I walked too many guys. Fortunately, it didn't come back to haunt me."
Reineke retired the first eight batters before walking starting pitcher Philip Humber in the third. Mike DiFelice's two-out single broke up the no-hit bid in the fifth.
"It was an inside fastball that I left over the plate a little bit," Reineke said. "Good hitters like him will hit those."
While encouraged by the start, the Miami of Ohio product isn't quite ready to relax.
"This is one outing. I just want to build on this one. By no means am I feeling that great because I know I have a long way to go," Reineke added.
After Scott Sauerbeck gave up an unearned run on two hits and a walk over 1 2/3 innings, Paul Estrada got the last out for his first Triple-A save.
Danny Klassen ripped a two-run double in the first to stake Reineke and the Express to a quick lead. Eric Bruntlett went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to help Round Rock (12-15) snap a five-game losing streak.
Fernando Tatis singled in the ninth and scored the Zephyrs' lone run on second baseman Brooks Conrad's error. Chip Ambres added a single for New Orleans (15-12).
Humber (2-3) surrendered five runs on seven hits in five innings, fanning four and walking two.