One pitch was all that separated Tyler Skaggs from the best outing of his career.
The D-backs' No. 3 prospect tied a career high with 12 strikeouts but allowed four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings Friday in Double-A Mobile's 5-1 loss to visiting Jacksonville.
Skaggs (0-2) carried a shutout into the seventh, the first time this season he's pitched past the sixth. After retiring Kyle Jensen on a groundout to short, however, he surrendered four straight hits, capped by pinch-hitter German Duran's two-run homer on his 108th and final pitch.
"I felt like everything was working for me, just one play," Skaggs said. "I tip my hat to the guy -- one pitch and he hit it out. But I still feel like it was a really solid performance."
Although he's winless in his first three starts, Skaggs has pitched well, posting a 3.62 ERA. The 20-year-old left-hander is tied with Nick Tropeano of Class A and fellow D-backs prospect Andrew Chafin of Class A Advanced Visalia for the Minor League lead with 27 strikeouts.
"I think it's just throwing strikes early," Skaggs said, "getting ahead of the batters and letting my curve do most of the work."
The California native isn't concerned about his lack of wins this early in the season.
"I wouldn't say it's frustrating," Skaggs said. "I feel like I've thrown well enough, or rather I'm keeping my team in the ballgame. I'm not worried about the wins, I'm worried about how the team is doing."
The defending champion BayBears are tied with Jacksonville for first place in the South Division.
Major League veteran Brent Clevlen went 3-for-4, finished a triple shy of the cycle and is batting .385 for the BayBears.
Kyle Kaminska (2-1) pitched two innings of hitless relief for the Suns, who've won five straight.