Alex Meyer knows that throwing six shutout innings isn't the same as tossing nine. But is that going to bother him when he remembers his first career shutout? Not a chance.
The Nationals' No. 2 prospect held the Class A Hickory Crawdads to just two hits on Tuesday, leading the Hagerstown Suns to a 4-0 win in a rain-shortened, six-inning contest.
Meyer (6-3) struck out five and walked one as he ran his record to a perfect 5-0 at home. He garnered nine outs on the ground and one through the air.
"You've got to look at it as being a little bit cheap," Meyer said. "It wasn't a nine-inning game. But you're never going to complain about getting your first one. You'll always take those whatever ways you can. I just want to keep building off it, and hopefully I can get another one before the All-Star break."
The 22-year-old right-hander gave up his first hit at the start of the third inning when Kellin Deglan doubled to right field. Jordan Atkins recorded the Crawdads' other hit to lead off the sixth, lining a single to center.
"The first one was a bad pitch by me," Meyer said. "I had him 0-1 and he got around on a fastball, so I thought I'd go changeup. I left it up and he ran one into right field for a double.
"The second one, it was the first pitch," he added. "He was sitting on the fastball and got around to one. They were two well-hit balls, I've just got to do a better job of executing the pitch."
Overall, Meyer felt he had all of his pitches working on the night -- his fastball, changeup and breaking ball. The Nationals' first-round pick in 2011 emphasized the importance of the latter pitch, which he felt had left him earlier in the year.
"For a couple starts about a month-and-a-half back, I felt like I lost it and couldn't throw strikes," he said. "Lately it's been better. Tonight I felt like I had it going and could command it, which was a big part of it."
Through the first 13 starts of his pro career, Meyer posted a 3.31 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-9 hurler has lowered his ERA in each month of the season -- from 5.31 in April to 3.21 in May to 1.06 in June.
"You learn a lot," Meyer said. "You try to work on something every day when you get to the ballpark. You learn to use certain pitches at certain times, whatever it is. I'm trying to pick up something new every single time out."