Ryan Helsley is looking to ensure his third trip to Triple-A is the charm. So far, so good.
The fourth-ranked St. Louis prospect matched a season high with 10 strikeouts while allowing an unearned run on three hits and a walk over seven innings as Memphis edged Colorado Springs, 2-1, on Monday afternoon at AutoZone Park. Helsley (2-0) pitched shutout ball after the opening frame and finished strong by retiring 12 of 13, including the last 11 Sky Sox batters.
Video: Memphis' Helsley rings up 10th strikeout
The 23-year-old right-hander opened the game by fanning Keon Broxton, who reached safely on a passed ball by No. 5 Cardinals prospect Andrew Knizner. Orlando Arcia followed with a single to center that plated Broxton, but the Sky Sox shortstop was caught in a rundown and tagged out by Redbirds shortstop Alex Mejia.
In the second, Helsey walked Nate Orf, then gave up another single in the third to Arcia, but he was picked off to end the inning. Tyrone Taylor hit a one-out double in the fourth, but he was the last Colorado Springs hitter to reach against Helsley.
Gameday box score
After making his Pacific Coast League debut last Sept. 1, the 6-foot-1 righty began 2018 with Double-A Springfield, where he went 3-2 with a 4.39 ERA. He was promoted to Memphis on April 29, when he held Round Rock to one run over seven innings before returning to the Texas League the next day. Helsley continued his strong pitching with the Cardinals, posting a 2.79 ERA while striking out 21 in 19 1/3 innings over three starts.
He came back to the PCL on May 21 and surrendered two runs on two hits with nine punchouts in seven frames against Oklahoma City. The Northeastern State University product has completed seven innings in all three of his starts for the Redbirds, compiling a 1.29 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 21 innings.
Selected by St. Louis in the fifth round of the 2015 Draft, Helsley has gone 27-8 with a 2.43 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and a .210 opponents' batting average in 62 career games, including 59 starts. The Oklahoma native is 5-2 with a 3.34 ERA this year and has recorded at least one out in the sixth inning in nine of his 10 starts.
Mejia had three hits and an RBI for the Redbirds while Adolis Garcia singled twice, walked and stole two bases. Helsley added a single and is 3-for-4 in the PCL and 4-for-10 overall.
Preston Guilmet struck out two to work around an error in a scoreless ninth and earn his 10th save, which ties him for the league lead with Round Rock's R.J. Alvarez.
Colorado Springs starter Brandon Woodruff surrendered a run on four hits and two walks while striking out six over five innings. He did not factor in the decision.