The fastball command Grant Holmes seemed to lose nearly three weeks ago appears to be back.In a July 8 outing against Double-A Tulsa in which Oakland's No. 9 prospect surrendered a career-high eight runs through five innings, Holmes struggled to harness what he said was "the best stuff I've had all
The fastball command Grant Holmes seemed to lose nearly three weeks ago appears to be back.
In a July 8 outing against Double-A Tulsa in which Oakland's No. 9 prospect surrendered a career-high eight runs through five innings, Holmes struggled to harness what he said was "the best stuff I've had all year."
But since then, the 21-year-old right-hander has rediscovered that control. He turned in seven scoreless innings in Midland's 13-1 rout of Frisco on Monday at Security Bank Ballpark. Holmes allowed three hits, struck out five and didn't walk a batter for the first time since June 20.
"I was just leaving the ball up in that game," he said of the 13-2 loss to the Drillers earlier in the month. "Believe it or not, that was probably the best stuff I've had all year, but I was just leaving it up and they were putting good swings on it and hitting the ball.
"I think my fastball command was working the most tonight. Curveball was working pretty well and my changeup was really good. The command [of] all three pitches was what I think helped me out the most."
Facing what Holmes (7-10) called an "aggressive" Frisco lineup, the 2014 first-round pick worked around hits in each of the first two innings before yielding a third knock to Rangers No. 15 prospect Andy Ibáñez in the sixth.
"I was just trying to keep the ball down and get ahead," he said. "And if they were aggressive enough to swing at the first pitch, just let them beat it into the ground and get a quick out."
Gameday box score
Holmes was matched by rehabbing Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin, who surrendered four hits with two walks and five strikeouts in five scoreless innings.
"It helps you compete a little better," Holmes said of the pitchers' duel. "It helps you stay focused. You just make your pitches, and let the offense come around whenever it decides to."
The RockHounds tagged reliever Collin Wiles (7-8) for five runs in the seventh, ending the night for Holmes, who threw 54 of 84 pitches for strikes and was pleased not to have handed out free passes.
"I think there were two guys where I got them on 3-2 pitches and they both popped up," the South Carolina native said.
"It's always good to go out of a game with no walks."
• Get tickets to a RockHounds game »
Tyler Sturdevant took over in the eighth and gave up a run on two hits and a walk before Carlos Navas pitched a scoreless ninth for the Rockhounds.
J.P. Sportman belted a grand slam and finished with five RBIs, while B.J. Boyd had three hits, plated three runs and scored twice for Midland.
Michael Peng is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelXPeng.