The last time Jake Arrieta wore a Norfolk jersey for this long, his time in Triple-A was a prelude for what developed into a 2 1/2-year stint in the Majors.
And while the circumstances are different, he's hoping a return to Baltimore is on the horizon once again.
Arrieta pitched a two-hitter for his first complete game in more than three years Wednesday as the Tides blanked the Durham Bulls, 1-0, in the first game of a doubleheader.
"Earlier in the year, I had too much running through my head other than trying to break it down to its most simple form, and that's where I'm at now," Arrieta told The Virginian-Pilot. "There were no exponential changes that needed to be made. It was just kind of something I had to do on my own."
The 26-year-old right-hander retired his first eight batters before allowing a single to Jesus Feliciano and walking Rich Thompson with two outs in the third. But second base was as far as any Bull got against Arrieta (4-4), who faced the minimum the rest of the way.
It was his third career shutout and first since June 7, 2009 for Double-A Bowie.
Chris Gimenez singled off Arrieta to begin the seventh, snapping a streak of 10 consecutive outs, but Leslie Anderson hit into a double play and Stephen Vogt grounded out to end the game.
Arrieta ended a personal four-game losing streak with his first win since Aug. 2. He lowered his ERA to 4.24.
Selected by the Orioles in the fifth round of the 2007 Draft out of TCU, Arrieta spent three years in the Minors before becoming a fixture in Baltimore's rotation in 2010 and 2011. Over those two seasons, he was 16-14 with a 4.86 ERA.
But after winning 10 games a year ago, Arrieta posted a 3-9 record and a 6.13 ERA in 18 big league starts this season, prompting a trip back to the International League.
In nine starts for Norfolk, he's struck out 45 batters and walked 27 over 51 innings.
The Tides totaled only three hits, Steve Tolleson led off the second with a double, took third on a balk and scored the game's only run on Blake Davis' single up the middle.
Chris Archer, the Rays' top pitching prospect, walked two batters and hit another in a scoreless first for Durham. Alexander Torres (3-7) took the loss after giving up a run on two hits over the next two innings.