Michael Kelly couldn't pinpoint one particular thing that worked for him Monday.
Then again, he really didn't need to.
Kelly allowed one hit and struck out nine over a career-high eight innings as Double-A San Antonio defeated Corpus Christi, 4-0, at Nelson Wolff Stadium.
The nine strikeouts matched a personal best the right-hander set on Aug. 23, 2014 with Class A Short Season Eugene.
Gameday box score
"I had a little bit of everything working tonight," Kelly said. "I had command of most of my pitches. It always helps when you're on the same page with your catcher [Stephen McGee]. It just makes it so much easier and that was the case tonight. I wanted to be aggressive against them and go with my fastball early to work off of that."
Kelly (2-1) worked around walks to Drew Ferguson and Jon Singleton in the first inning before settling in. He retired 11 straight until walking Jamie Ritchie with one out in the fifth. Ferguson led off the sixth with a double, but Kelly retired the next three batters, striking out the last two, to keep the Hooks off the scoreboard.
He worked a clean seventh and struck out the side in the eighth, getting Ferguson to swing through his 107th pitch of the evening before giving way to the bullpen.
Video: Michael Kelly finishes fanning the side
"I was really happy with how the ball came out of my hand," the 6-foot-4 hurler said. "I really started feeling good towards end of the game and was pleased they let me go back out there. It was a nice feeling and striking out the side was a pretty good way to end it."
Kelly made a career-high 25 starts across three levels for the Padres last season. The 48th overall pick in the 2011 Draft began the year with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore before moving on to San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso. The West Boca Raton Community College product won a career-high nine games and struck out 115 in 128 2/3 innings.
Kelly has yet to allow more than three runs in any of his eight starts this season.
"I just want to build off it as best I can," he said. "You learn from your mistakes and then keep doing what you've been doing that's working well and focus on the next start."
Ty France and McGee had RBI doubles and Rafael De Paula worked around a hit in the ninth for San Antonio, which has won 11 of 12.