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Rockies' Requena takes down Tebow, Fireflies

Asheville righty strikes out nine, lowers ERA to 0.35 in fourth start
Alejandro Requena has allowed just one earned run in 26 1/3 innings this season. (Tony Farlow/Four Seam Images)
April 25, 2017

Alejandro Requena cruised through the first inning on Tuesday before giving up what turned out to be the hardest hit ball of the afternoon. It came off the bat of Tim Tebow and put two runners on base with one out in the second."When the heat was on, he doesn't

Alejandro Requena cruised through the first inning on Tuesday before giving up what turned out to be the hardest hit ball of the afternoon. It came off the bat of Tim Tebow and put two runners on base with one out in the second.
"When the heat was on, he doesn't flinch," Asheville pitching coach Ryan Kibler said of the 20-year-old right-hander. "He doesn't change his demeanor. In fact, he comes into the dugout and tells me not to panic. It's outstanding."

Requena stayed calm and scattered four hits over eight dominant innings in the longest start of his career. Jacob Bosiokovic scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning to lift Class A Asheville past Columbia, 2-0, on Tuesday.
Requena struck out nine and walked one opposite Fireflies starter Gabriel Llanes, who pitched six scoreless innings and held the Tourists to four hits. Requena's only trouble came in the second, when Dash Winningham led off with a single up the middle and Tebow, the former NFL quarterback, hammered a first-pitch fastball for a double off the wall in left field. The Venezuela native struck out Desmond Lindsay and Brandon Brosher to escape the threat.
"He got nice and quiet late in the game," Kibler said of Requena's dugout chatter. "He didn't want to be noticed, didn't want us to bother him. But at no point until the eighth did we start to consider to give him some relief. No doubt he was going out for the eighth."

Columbia managed just two more hits after the second-inning threat -- Reed Gamache singled in the fourth but was erased on a double play, and Lindsay added a leadoff single in the fifth but also got caught up in a double play.
Asheville took the lead in the 11th when Bosiokovic doubled to left and came home on a wild pitch by Columbia reliever Joel Huertas. Max George added an insurance run when he scored on a bunt by Jose Gomez.
Tebow, who is batting .213, finished 1-for-4.
Box score
"[Requena] looked very impressive. He showed all his strengths throughout those eight innings," Kibler said. "Early on, he was very aggressive, pitched in with the fastball, got ahead. He did that for the first couple innings and then broke out the breaking ball. He used it very effectively today."
Requena's numbers so far this season in four starts are impressive. He lowered his ERA on Tuesday from 0.49 to 0.34 and has allowed just one earned run in 26 1/3 innings. He's struck out 18 and walked six, going at least six innings in three of the four outings.
Kibler said Requena was able to work in his changeup late in the game Tuesday after struggling with it early on.

"When they got aggressive, he went away effectively," Kibler said. "He made pitch after pitch after pitch and was very impressive getting out of jams. He got a couple double play balls and was aggressive with the change. It wasn't there early, but he used it effectively late to lefties. He fields his position well -- he had a little hiccup on a double play but he doesn't flinch. It was a solid outing, and when he shows all his attributes, he's really fun to watch."
Kibler said he isn't surprised by Requena's early success after the Rockies moved the 6-foot-2 starter up a level. The former Minor League pitcher moved on from playing after the 2002 season and coached last year with Rookie-level Grand Junction, where Requena went 3-6 with a 4.97 ERA in 13 starts.
"I'm not surprised at all. I know what he's capable of," Kibler said."When he gets consistent, that's when he's really good. You know exactly what you're going to get with him each outing. He uses all three pitches, he controls the game, he's slowing the game down. He has great mound presence and demeanor, he's able to put all those things together and nothing bothers him -- he doesn't get high or low. It was just a matter of time when he would put those things together, and that's what he's done so far this season in a consistent fashion early on this year."
Kibler said the Tourists didn't have any specific plan of attack for Tebow, who batted sixth.
"He hit a first-pitch fastball away and he went away from it, elevated it a bit, hit it on the barrel," he said. "The ball was carrying a little more today than usual, but it was a fastball up and away and he kind of sliced it down there."

Danny Wild is an editor for Follow his MLBlog column, Minoring in Twitter.