Tyler Beede's motto on Monday was "Finish strong." So the right-hander crossed the finish line in dazzling fashion.
In his 23rd start of the season, the Giants' top pitching prospect tossed a two-hitter for his first career complete game and tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in the Flying Squirrels' 4-0 blanking of visiting Hartford.
It was the third complete-game shutout in team history.
A double by Dillon Thomas in the second and a walk by Devin Burke in the sixth were the only damage through eight innings as Beede (7-7) retired 24 of his first 26 batters. The 23-year-old right-hander issued his fewest walks since June 29 while firing 70 of 94 pitches for strikes.
"Throughout the whole night, they were aggressive to the fastballs and aggressive early in the count," Beede said. "I was able to have efficient innings, go out and let my defense play.
"I really wanted to place an emphasis on getting ahead with those first-pitch strikes and putting away hitters when I got them in two-strike counts."
For the first time in his professional career, Beede took the mound for the ninth. He'd retired nine in a row when Juan Ciriaco dropped a bunt single down the third base line to begin the final frame. Omar Carrizales tried to do the same, something to which Beede said he took exception.
"I was a little mad about it. Not mad, I mean it's part of the game … but then the next guy tried to bunt as well and that kind of got under my skin," he said. "I think it was just something that added fuel to the fire for me."
Beede channeled his displeasure into a three-pitch strikeout of Carrizales. The 2014 first-round pick followed it up by fanning sixth-ranked Rockies prospect Ryan McMahon on four pitches, reaching a season-high 98 mph on the radar gun in the process. Four more pitches later, Noel Cuevas bounced to third to complete the shutout.
"I kind of went into closer mode that last inning," Beede said with a laugh. "Just started rearing back and giving them my best stuff."
The way Beede finished Monday resembled the way he's been finishing his second Eastern League stint. In his last five starts, the Massachusetts native owns a 1.60 ERA and 43 strikeouts over 30 2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .164 average.
After going 3-8 with a 5.23 ERA over 13 starts with Richmond a season ago, Beede ranks second in the league with a 2.87 ERA and leads the circuit with 133 strikeouts. The Vanderbilt product said his struggles in 2015 helped him turn things around this season.
"Being able to go through adversity, you go through it during parts of the season, but last year I did multiple times," Beede said. "I've been using them as learning experiences and I think being able to take them into this year, realizing that there's something to learn from every outing good or bad, has allowed me to continue to improve from start to start, from month to month. I'm just really proud of my finish."
Giants No. 13 prospect C.J. Hinojoa went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs for Richmond, while No. 3 prospect Chris Shaw added a solo shot.
Rehabbing Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood (0-1) started for the Yard Goats and gave up a pair of unearned runs on four hits and a walk while fanning three over 4 1/3 frames.
Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21.