Even with a lower-than-usual strikeout total, Tony Santillan has enjoyed his best season to date. The case could be made that the 21-year-old is in the middle of a transformation from thrower to pitcher. But in case there were any doubts, he showed that the "K" is still very much a primary part of his arsenal.
Cincinnati's No. 5 prospect punched out a season-high 11 over 5 2/3 scoreless innings and Double-A Pensacola withstood a late rally to defeat Biloxi, 6-3, on Monday night at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Santillan (4-0) allowed four hits and walked two while falling one strikeout short of his career high set with Rookie-level Billings on June 27, 2016.
Video: Pensacola's Santillan notches 11th strikeout
The right-hander worked around a two-out single to top Brewers prospect Keston Hiura in the first inning, a double by Luis Aviles Jr. in the second and No. 19 Troy Stokes Jr.s base hit in the third. Santillan fanned a pair of Shuckers in each of the first three frames and didn't put two men on in an inning until the fourth, when he was working with a 5-0 lead. Brewers' 23rd-ranked Trent Grisham walked and Aviles singled in the inning, but the native of Fort Worth, Texas, kept Biloxi off the scoreboard. He struck out two more in the fifth and the first two batters of the sixth before he was removed after throwing 97 pitches, including 66 for strikes.
Gameday box score
Santillan struck out Hiura, fourth-ranked Brewers prospect Corey Ray and No. 6 Lucas Erceg two times apiece.
The first double-digit strikeout performance of the 2015 second-round pick's season marked the sixth of his career and first since last Aug. 5 with Class A Dayton. Since his promotion to the Southern League, Santillan has won four of five starts while amassing a 1.84 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.
The Juan Seguin High School (Texas) product burst onto the scene in his first full-season campaign last year, going 9-8 with a 3.38 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 128 innings. He entered 2018 with 231 whiffs in 217 career innings, but his strikeout rate dropped to 7.58 per nine in 15 starts with Class A Advanced Daytona. The lower K-total didn't affect his performance, however, as Santillan won six games and posted a 2.70 ERA in 15 starts in the Florida State League before his promotion to Double-A on July 5.
Overall, he is 10-4 with a 2.48 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 20 starts between the Tortugas and Blue Wahoos.
Video: Pensacola's Siri hits leadoff triple
Jose Siri, the Reds' 17th-ranked prospect, enjoyed a big game at the plate, finishing with a triple among his three hits. The 23-year-old scored three times, stole three bases and drove in a run for Pensacola, which also got a triple, three hits and two RBIs from Taylor Featherston.
Biloxi starter Jon Perrin (0-2) allowed six runs on 10 hits over four innings. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out six and didn't walk a batter.
Richie Shaffer slugged a two-run homer in the eighth to close out the scoring.