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Luzardo all aces in first Major League start

Top A's prospect tosses five scoreless innings, strikes out five
Jesús Luzardo has a 1.90 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP in his first nine big league appearances. (Jed Jacobsohn/AP)
August 5, 2020

Class was in session Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum. Delivering the lecture was Jesús Luzardo, who took his final step back after a COVID-19 diagnosis delayed his arrival at Summer Camp and entry into the Oakland rotation. The top A's prospect struck out five over five scoreless innings in

Class was in session Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum. Delivering the lecture was Jesús Luzardo, who took his final step back after a COVID-19 diagnosis delayed his arrival at Summer Camp and entry into the Oakland rotation.

The top A's prospect struck out five over five scoreless innings in his first Major League start, allowing two hits and two walks against the Rangers. Luzardo was lifted after throwing 48 of 76 pitches for strikes. Stephen Piscotty's walk-off grand slam lifted Oakland to a 5-1 win.

“He was terrific,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told “He comes as advertised. Great velocity and great movement. Terrific athlete. Really good start for him for his first time out.”

The 22-year-old was nearly flawless in his season debut on July 25 but was touched for three runs and five hits over 3 2/3 innings against the Rockies four days later. Luzardo had no such issues against Texas, which managed a double and a single in 18 plate appearances. MLB Pipeline's No. 13 overall prospect retired the first six batters, recording three consecutive strikeouts bridging the first and second innings. Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled leading off the third and Todd Frazier doubled with two outs in the fourth.

Luzardo whiffed a pair in his final frame, working around a one-out walk to Kiner-Falefa to keep the game scoreless.

“I feel like I was able to battle pretty well. My slider wasn’t necessarily there. I wasn’t able to throw it for a strike that much," he said. "I felt like I was able to battle with my other pitches pretty well and keep guys off-balance. ... The first inning was good. I established both sides of the plate. Towards the end of my outing, I knew what I had and worked with that. I went along with the game plan once I saw what I had for the first three innings.”

Luzardo also impressed Rangers manager Chris Woodward.

“[He] is pretty good. He has three plus-pitches. He executed pretty well early,” Woodward said. “I was hoping we would put more pressure on him early, attack him early. He did a good job of offsetting that by throwing some changeups early in hitters' counts.”

The Peru-born hurler made his Major League debut last September and displayed the high-octane fastball and devastating slider for which he's been known. Luzardo made six appearances out of the bullpen, notching a pair of saves while posting a 1.50 ERA with 16 strikeouts and three walks in 12 innings. Opponents hit .119 against the southpaw, who endured a delayed start to last season after a strained shoulder shut him down in Spring Training. He suffered a lat strain not long after returning to action and was limited to 11 appearances, including nine starts, and 43 innings across three Minor League levels.

Luzardo's best season was 2018 when he went 10-5 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 129 strikeouts over 109 1/3 innings for Class A Advanced Stockton, Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville.

No. 2 A's prospect Sean Murphy was hitless in three at-bats

Rangers No. 26 prospect Jonathan Hernández fanned two and yielded one hit in 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

In other action:

Dodgers 5, Padres 2

Dustin May struck out eight over six strong innings en route to his first win of the season. The second-ranked Los Angeles prospect allowed two runs, three hits and a walk to earn his first victory since Sept. 29. May (1-0) has a 2.63 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 13 2/3 frames across three starts this year. Padres No. 19 prospect Jake Cronenworth took May deep in the fourth inning for a solo shot, his first Major League homer. Box score

Angels 5, Mariners 3

Called up earlier in the day, Jo Adell was inserted into Los Angeles' lineup and wasted no time making an impact. The top Angels prospect legged out an infield single in his first big league at-bat against Mariners No. 8 prospect Justin Dunn and finished 1-for-4. One day after his season-long hitting streak ended, Kyle Lewis started another one with a double in the eighth inning. The M's No. 13 prospect is batting .375/.423/.583 with three homers and nine RBIs. Dunn (0-1) allowed homers to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the first but followed with three scoreless innings. The right-hander was charged with three runs on three hits and four walks with four strikeouts in four frames. No. 22 Joey Gerber and 26th-ranked Taylor Guilbeau each tossed a scoreless inning out of the Seattle bullpen. Box score

Braves 10, Blue Jays 1

Pitching for the first time since July 26, Anthony Kay displayed little, if any, rust. The Blue Jays' No. 11 prospect issued an intentional walk and struck out three over two innings of hitless relief. No. 22 prospect Anthony Alford drove in Toronto's lone run with a two-out single in the fifth, his first hit of the season. Box score

Nationals 5, Mets 3

Carter Kieboom continued his strong start to the season with an RBI single and a walk in Washington's win over New York. The top Nats prospect is 5-for-12 (.417) and has drawn four walks in 16 plate appearances. Third-ranked Mets prospect Andres Gimenez got the start at shortstop in place of the injured Amed Rosario and continued to impress. In addition to strong defense, the 21-year-old notched a pair of singles to boost his slash line to .333/.364/.429 in 11 games. Box score

Rays 5, Red Sox 1

Rays No. 26 prospect Peter Fairbanks tossed a stellar eighth inning to set up a pair of Rays who closed out the game in the ninth. The right-hander worked around an error and a walk, striking out J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts . Fairbanks has a 4.50 ERA with nine strikeouts over four innings in four appearances. Box score

Astros 8, D-backs 2

Houston’s sixth-ranked prospect Cristian Javier picked up the first win of his career in his second start and third overall appearance. The right-hander went six strong innings and allowed one run on four hits and one walk with two strikeouts. He has a 1.42 ERA this season. Javier was followed by No. 5 Bryan Abreu, who retired two batters and gave up one run, one hit and three walks. No. 14 Enoli Paredes followed Abreu with 1 1/3 scoreless frames, getting out of Abreu’s jam and finishing with two hits and one walk allowed. No. 3 Abraham Toro went 0-for-3 but scored twice after being hit by a pair of pitches. For Arizona, No. 17 Andy Young doubled and singled after entering the game in the sixth inning, scoring one run. No. 3 Daulton Varsho went 0-for-4 in his first big league start, playing in left field and catching. Box score

Cubs 5, Royals 4

Royals No. 3 prospect Brady Singer celebrated his birthday, but the Cubs’ experienced lineup wasn’t in the mood for gifts. The right-hander gave up more than two runs for the first time, allowing two-run homers to Jason Heyward and Jason Kipnis en route to his first big league loss. The 24-year-old recorded a career-high eight strikeouts but surrendered five hits and two walks. Singer has a 4.80 ERA to go with 18 punchouts over 15 frames. Box score

White Sox 3, Brewers 2

Top Chicago prospect Luis Robert continued his spectacular start to the season, going 2-for-4 with a walk to help the White Sox to their seventh victory.’s No. 3 overall prospect logged a pair of singles, raising his slash line to .364/.429/.568. Fourth-ranked Nick Madrigal singled in the third in his lone plate appearance but exited the game later that inning with a left shoulder injury. He was replaced at second base by No. 21 Danny Mendick, who scored the go-ahead run in the seventh after reaching on an error. Brewers No. 15 prospect Devin Williams was pegged with the loss after allowing an unearned run on a hit and a walk with three strikeouts in his lone frame. Box score

Rockies 5, Giants 2

Rockies No. 12 prospect Sam Hilliard went 1-for-4 and knocked in a run in Colorado’s NL West-leading eighth win. He stepped to the dish with runners on the corners and one out in the fourth inning and ripped a line drive to right field to drive in Nolan Arenado to make it 3-0. Box score

Michael Avallone is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.