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Garcia twirls career night for Yard Goats

Rockies No. 21 prospect allows two hits, fans 10 in eight innings
Rico Garcia has amassed 54 strikeouts to 15 walks and a 1.09 WHIP in 57 innings over nine Double-A games. (Kevin Pataky/
August 20, 2018

Rico Garcia had a "Frank the Tank" moment Monday.The 24-year-old admitted he "just kind of blacked out" on the mound. He wasn't thinking, just throwing. And just like Will Ferrell in the debate scene from Old School, the results were brilliant.Colorado's No. 21 prospect turned in the best outing of his

Rico Garcia had a "Frank the Tank" moment Monday.
The 24-year-old admitted he "just kind of blacked out" on the mound. He wasn't thinking, just throwing. And just like Will Ferrell in the debate scene from Old School, the results were brilliant.
Colorado's No. 21 prospect turned in the best outing of his professional career -- scattering two hits and a pair of walks while matching career bests with 10 strikeouts and eight frames -- to earn his third straight victory for Double-A Hartford in a 4-0 shutout of Trenton at ARM & HAMMER Park.

"Honestly, I was just going through it," he said with a chuckle. "I think my mentality was just to trust. Trust my catcher [Colorado's No. 27 prospect Dom Nuñez], trust my stuff, my coaches, my teammates. They made a lot of plays out there that could have changed the outcome of the game, so I knew I had great teammates behind me. I just mixed my pitches and kept [the hitters] off balance."
"It was just one of those kinds of nights for him. He had everything going and he was very efficient," added Yard Goats pitching coach Mark Brewer. "It was really fun to watch."
The right-hander hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in each of his last four starts. He also has 26 punchouts and only five walks over that time -- a span of 27 innings. Since being promoted to Hartford from Class A Advanced Lancaster on July 2, he's posted a 6-1 record with a 2.37 ERA.
"He's been good since he's got here, but one thing we've been working on is his curveball. He's got an above-average fastball and changeup, but he was cutting off his curve and bouncing it a lot," Brewer said. "But it's really coming along and now he's throwing it on the fastball plane, so it's standing hitters up and it's keeping them honest. So he had that going for him tonight and his changeup command was outstanding."
Garcia (6-1) worked around a four-pitch leadoff walk to Gosuke Katoh by getting Wendell Rijo to swing through a high 2-2 changeup, and a batter interference call on Rijo erased Katoh from the basepaths. Brandon Wagner went down swinging next on almost the same pitch that got Rijo.
Gameday box score
After retiring the side in order in the second, the 2016 Draft 30th-round pick jammed Jhalan Jackson for a single that blooped in just beyond the infield in the third. Jeff Hendrix swung through a changeup that came in high and inside on a 2-2 count for the first out of the frame. Danienger Perez knocked a weak ground ball through the right side for the only other hit off Garcia.
"After I gave up those hits, I didn't get rattled. I looked at it as a way to come back stronger," he said. "I know I threw good pitches there and they got the hits, so I just needed to throw better pitches."
The Hawaii Pacific product sat down the next 11 hitters before Wagner drew a six-pitch walk to start the seventh. Garcia responded by inducing Trey Amburgey to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play and fanning Jorge Saez on a breaking ball.
In the eighth, Garcia worked around a fielding error by center fielder Omar Carrizales that put Jackson aboard. He whiffed Rashad Crawford and got Hendrix and Perez to dribble into soft-contact groundouts.

"I knew that was going to be my last inning, so I just gave it everything I had left," Garcia said. "My curveball was very effective for me. I didn't really have it the last few times out, but having that third pitch tonight to change the eye level and throw off their timing really played out. The results were there."
Garcia also recorded 10 strikeouts in his final start last Sept. 1, setting his career high for Class A Asheville over six innings in a victory over Greenville. He lasted eight innings two other times with Class A Advanced Lancaster this season -- on May 6 in a win over San Jose, and on June 17 in a loss to Lake Elsinore.
Righty Matt Pierpont worked around a hit and a walk, striking out one, in the ninth to seal the shutout.
In the third, Nuñez grounded a go-ahead two-run single into right off rehabbing Yankees pitcher Luis Cessa.

Rob Terranova is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.