After a rocky season debut, Tommy Wilson had been solid. On Wednesday, though, he was almost untouchable.
The Mets right-hander struck out a career-high nine and walked three across seven hitless innings, helping lead Class A Advanced St. Lucie to a 2-0 win over Palm Beach at First Data Field.
Gameday box score
The no-no bid fell short in the eighth after Wilson's departure, so he wasn't able to etch his name in the history books. But it was the closest he'd personally ever gotten to such a feat, and possibly the best outing he's ever had.
"I don't usually strike out too many guys, so nine strikeouts was pretty fun," Wilson said. "But yeah, it was definitely one of the better starts (of my life) for sure, and I hope to repeat it in the near future."
The 22-year-old faced the minimum in the first inning, then walked Zach Kirtley to open the second before striking out the next three to escape unscathed. The only other trouble he got into was in the fourth, when he walked Nick Plummer and Dennis Ortega and they advanced on a groundout. Wilson buckled down, getting Jose Martinez to ground out to first base on the first pitch.
While he also operated with a curveball and changeup, his fastball was the driving factor behind his success, especially late in the game.
"It was just moving around the fastball for sure," Wilson said. "I mean, going in and out with it and up when I needed to. I think I must've thrown probably like 75 percent fastballs."
The 2018 19th-rounder's previous career high in strikeouts was six, accomplished twice -- on April 13 against the Fire Frogs as well as in his final appearance of 2018 last Sept. 2 for Class A Short Season Brooklyn. The right-hander finished that campaign with a 1-0 record, two saves and a 1.23 ERA while striking out 27 in 22 innings over 11 appearances.
While he was working as a reliever with Brooklyn, Wilson is a starter through and through. The Los Angeles natie was on a reduced schedule last summer after pitching heavily at Cal State Fullerton, throwing a reliever's workload on a starter's schedule.
2019 MiLB include
Now back in the rotation, he sports a 2-2 record with 3.04 ERA and 22 strikeouts in five starts. He allowed four runs in five innings against Bradenton in his first outing on April 5, but has been stellar since then, allowing just five runs in 21 2/3 innings. Much of that improvement, he believes, has come from shaking off the rust of returning to a starting role.
"I had a lot of energy in that first start," Wilson said. "I was pretty hyped up going into my first (Class A Advanced) start and whatnot. But since then, I've kind of just tried to stay within myself and pitch my game. ... Focusing on what my strengths are, I think, has helped me succeed since that first start."
Jacob Zanon scored both of the Mets' runs, crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly by Jeremy Vasquez in the fifth and a single from Major League veteran Jed Lowrie in the seventh. Blake Taylor picked up his fourth save, striking out two in the ninth.