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Hu continues to dominate at Double-A

Rays No. 13 prospect hurls seven scoreless frames, leads level in ERA
May 14, 2016

Chih-Wei Hu's lone start at Triple-A this season didn't go too well, but that hasn't deterred the Rays' No. 13 prospect from dominating Double-A competition.

"If anything, I think it might've helped him," Montgomery manager Brady Williams said. "He knew he was going up there only making one start and coming back. He came back and pitched the same way he pitched when he left."

Hu turned in another sterling outing for the Biscuits on Saturday in their 5-0 shutout of Jacksonville at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. He allowed four hits and one walk while striking out two over seven innings to lower his ERA to a Double-A-best 0.54.

"He commanded all of his pitches very well to both sides of the plate," Williams said. "He was just in control the whole game. He has pitched like that for majority of the season. He's been impressive."

Apart from his April 23 spot start for Durham in which he allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings, the Taichung, Taiwan, native has allowed two earned runs over 33 1/3 innings for Montgomery this season. Williams credits Hu's ability to keep the ball down for his success.

"He works down in the zone as good as anybody I've seen in a while," the manager said. "So when he goes up in the zone, guys don't necessarily hit him very well. He's just consistently getting low strikes."

The 22-year-old right-hander, who trails only Class A Greensboro's Ben Holmes for the Minors' lead in ERA, induced nine groundouts to seven flyouts in his longest outing of the season. He threw 73 of 104 pitches for strikes and recorded nine outs on three pitches or fewer.

"He probably could've gone deeper," Williams said. "Earlier in the game, there were at least 10 foul balls. Guys were just battling him early on. Then he finally had some easier outs as his outing went along to allow him pitch deeper in the game."

Kyle Bird completed the shutout by allowing one hit and striking out one over two innings in his second appearance since getting promoted from Class A Advanced Charlotte.

Rays No. 8 prospect Casey Gillaspie paced the Biscuits offense with his third three-hit game of the season. He doubled in the fifth and belted a solo homer in the seventh.

"He was aggressive on the fastball, for sure," Williams said. "He had a two-strike single and a two-strike homer and his double got him going early."

Gillaspie, who finished at Charlotte last season, has reached base in 18 consecutive games. He's batting .400 over his last 10 games and raised his season average to .317, despite having 12 hitless contests.

"He's a young hitter and he's going to have those ups and downs," Williams said. "But he still has good at-bats. Every night he has good at-bats. I've just been impressed by the consistency of quality at-bats by him. He doesn't give away at-bats.

"He might get down in the count, but he'll plot a way to get himself back into the count to work a walk or get a hit with two strikes, and he's done that for the majority of the season. To see that out of him, with him jumping a level, so to speak, to be here, he's been impressive as a young hitter to watch."

Juniel Querecuto went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Johnny Field led off the game with a homer to left.

Michael Peng is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @MichaelXPeng