Need to bring a losing streak to an end? Put Jake Odorizzi on the mound.
Odorizzi allowed one hit while fanning a career-high 13 batters over six innings Tuesday night as Class A Advanced Wilmington snapped a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over visiting Salem in a battle of first-place clubs.
The former first-round Draft pick whom the Royals acquired from Milwaukee in the Zack Greinke deal has won his last three starts, all of which followed Blue Rocks losses. He's allowed two runs on 10 hits while striking out 31 over 19 innings in the three outings.
"Early on, I had my control and fastball location and things were just working well all night long," Odorizzi said.
The gem gave the 21-year-old right-hander both the Carolina League and Royals organization lead in strikeouts.
"I try to throw strikes and get ahead in the count," he said. "Working off the fastball opened up a lot doors, and when you throw strikes you'll get some strikeouts. The strikeouts are a side effect of the way I want to pitch."
Odorizzi started hot Tuesday and never let up. He fanned the first five batters he faced and did not allow a hit until the sixth inning.
"Jake set the tone for us," said Wilmington manager Brian Rupp. "He was aggressive with the fastball and his curve was maybe the best we've seen it so far."
Though Odorizzi (3-0) walked a season-high three batters, just one Red Sox player reached second base during his six frames.
Kevin Chapman posted his sixth save after allowing one run on one hit in the ninth.
John Whittleman led the Blue Rocks offense, going 3-for-4 with a triple, a double and a pair of RBIs. The first baseman also picked up his first stolen base of the season and has five hits in his last two games.
Leadoff man Whit Merrifield doubled, singled, stole a base and scored two of the Rocks' three runs.
The Red Sox, who entered the game with the Carolina League's best road record (7-2) and best overall record (20-8), did not get on the board until Reynaldo Rodriguez led off the ninth with his fifth homer. They managed just three hits in the game.
Salem starter Pete Ruiz fell to 1-2 after yielding three runs on six hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked a pair.
Wilmington and Salem, who lead the Carolina Northern and Southern Divisions respectively have two more games in their three-game set. The Blue Rocks visit LewisGale Field for a four-game series next week, but it remains to be seen whether Odorizzi will have pitched himself to Double-A Northwest Arkansas by then.