TinCaps fans went to Parkview Field on the Fourth of July anticipating a postgame fireworks show. MacKenzie Gore gave them something to behold before the sun went down.
The Padres' second-ranked prospect pitched a gem, blanking Great Lakes on four hits over a career-high six innings as Class A Fort Wayne cruised to a 7-0 victory.
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Gore (1-2) threw 52 of 86 pitches for strikes in his first professional win. Using a fastball that sat between 90-94 mph, he fanned six and walked two. He also mixed in a changeup that he was able to locate in the zone.
"The fastball was good, command I thought could have been better," he said. "But I went after people.
"[It] feels good -- July 4 and [finally] got a win, but it's good. [And I was] able to stretch it out."
The third overall pick in last year's Draft ran his scoreless streak to 10 innings, and he's walked seven while striking out 32 over 26 frames in eight starts for Fort Wayne.
"It was good, it was my longest [start]. I had a decent start last time, but I just got to get consistent. But I always expect to get out there and put numbers out there like that," MLB.com's No. 13 overall prospect said.
Gore rocketed to the top of many teams' Draft boards in the spring of 2017 after going 11-0 with an 0.19 ERA and 158 strikeouts against five walks over 74 1/3 innings for Whiteville High School in North Carolina en route to being named Gatorade National Player of the Year. He signed for a $6.7 million bonus, passing on a commitment to East Carolina University to turn pro.
The Padres were careful with his workload in his pro debut, limiting him to four innings or fewer in seven starts in the Rookie-level Arizona League, but he quickly showed he was worth the hype and big investment. Scouts say he commands his fastball well and throws a curveball that is a plus offering while possessing a slider and changeup that also project as plus pitches. His high leg kick adds deception.
On Wednesday, the 6-foot-3 left-hander did not allow a hit Brayan Morales singled with two outs in the third. Only one Loon was able to get into scoring position against him.
The way Gore was dealing, Fort Wayne didn't have to give him much to work with, but the TinCaps put four on the board in the second. Gabriel Arias singled home Padres No. 11 prospect Esteury Ruiz and Robbie Podorsky tripled with two outs to clear the bases and make it 4-0.
Fort Wayne added single runs in the third, fourth and seventh as Justin Lopez homered, Jalen Washington doubled home Luis Almanzar and Ruiz singled home 13th-ranked Tirso Ornelas.
Great Lakes starter Andre Jackson (0-3) allowed four runs on four hits over 1 2/3 innings, fanning two and walking one.