'Riders' Hernandez puts up seven zeros

Rangers No. 8 prospect allows three hits, strikes out 10

Jonathan Hernandez is averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 10 appearances this season. (Ben Sandstrom/MiLB.com)

By Brian Stultz / MiLB.com | June 1, 2019 12:42 AM

Jonathan Hernandez made sure to end May with a bang.

The Rangers' No. 8 prospect recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts and gave up three hits over seven scoreless frames before Double-A Frisco defeated Corpus Christi, 6-5, in 12 innings on Friday at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Video: 'Riders' Hernandez strikes out 10th

A leadoff single in the second by Astros No. 9 prospect Seth Beer was quickly erased as Hernandez coaxed a double play from Granden Goetzman. The right-hander retired the next nine batters before giving up a one-out single in the fifth to 11th-ranked Ronnie Dawson.

An error by first baseman Andretty Cordero allowed No. 19 prospect Luis Santana to reach leading off the sixth. Two batters later, Osvaldo Duarte singled up the middle to move Santana to second, but he turned out to be the only Hook to get past first base against Hernandez. Stephen Wrenn struck out and 21st-ranked Abraham Toro flied out to end the threat.

The Tennessee native leaned on his catcher, Tony Sanchez, to get out of the jam.

Gameday box score

"Sanchez did a good job calling the game," Hernandez said. "The one time I had first and second with one out, we stuck to the plan that we made before the game. He was getting me in the right place to make quality pitches."

The 10 strikeouts were one short of Hernandez's career high, which he achieved twice last season with Class A Advanced Down East. It was the sixth time in his career that he's reached double digits. 

A mix of his fastball, curveball and changeup helped him keep the Hooks off-balance.

"I was getting ahead with my fastball and with my other pitches," Hernandez said. "I was using all three today. I would get in a 2-1 count and then use my curveball to fool them."

The 22-year-old lowered his ERA to 5.47 and is tied for fifth in the Texas League with 56 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings. His longest outing of the season had been a six-inning stint against the Hooks on May 25 in which he allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks with six punchouts.

What was the biggest difference for Hernandez on Friday?

"My consistency of getting ahead of the hitters and getting myself the chance to work with good counts," he said. "That was the biggest key."

It was the fourth time he's faced the Hooks this season. Hernandez sees that as a benefit to both himself and the opposing hitters.

"I think it is the same for both sides," he said. "They've seen me, so they know what I'm trying to do, but I know their weaknesses."

2019 MiLB include

Sanchez staked the RoughRiders to a 2-0 lead with a two-run double in the fifth. Cordero extended it an inning later when he blasted the first pitch from right-hander Hunter Martin over the left-field wall for a two-run homer.

Toro tied it it in the eighth with a grand slam off righty Blake Bass.

The Hooks took a 5-4 lead in the top of the 10th on Wrenn's RBI double, but Charles Leblanc re-tied it with a run-scoring single in the bottom half.

Juremi Profar delivered a walk-off single to deep center in the 12th, scoring Christian Lopes.

Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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