Andrew Suarez entered the San Francisco system having already thrown 85 1/3 innings for the University of Miami this year, so he's trying to get the most out of his time on the bump in his first season of pro ball.
"We have him on a pitch count, and he wants to pitch to contact. His goal is to see how many innings he can go with the pitch count," said Salem-Keizer pitching coach Matt Yourkin.
On Thursday, the 22-year-old southpaw made his longest outing since being drafted in the second round in June, allowing a single and striking out two while facing the minimum over five innings as the Class A Short Season Volcanoes two-hit the Indians in a 5-0 victory at Spokane.
"Tonight was an outstanding effort," Yourkin said. "Everything was working for him: fastball, breaking ball, changeup. It was all there for him."
The Giants' No. 15 prospect, who picked up his first career victory, sports a 1.40 ERA over 19 1/3 innings across five starts for Salem-Keizer. He debuted with three relief appearances in the Rookie-level Arizona League, allowing one run on two hits and a walk while striking out six in five innings. To Yourkin, Thursday's dominant outing was part of an obvious trend.
"This is just basically how he's been for us since he's come here," the veteran of nine pro seasons said.
"His demeanor is always calm and in control. When he's pitching, you can't tell if he's amped up or anything like that. He's got a great presence and demeanor, and that carries over to the rest of the team. He's a starting pitcher you can stand behind and say, 'I like our chances today.'"
The lone hit Suarez permitted came at the opening of his night as LeDarious Clark lined the third pitch he saw into left field.
"It was 2-0, and he got a good pitch to hit. He did what he was supposed to do. Andy challenged him, and he hit it. They both did what they were supposed to do, and for Andy, it's like, 'So what?' He went on to the next guy," Yourkin said. "The next pitch? Double play."
The next inning, Sherman Lacrus reached on a one-out fielding error by Volcanoes third baseman Jose Vizcaino Jr.
"Two pitches later," Yourkin said, "he got a double play."
The Miami native retired the next nine in a row.
"He's pitching with confidence, trusting in his stuff in the zone. It's been fun to watch for all of us on the staff. He's a great kid, and he's got a bright future ahead of him," said Yourkin.
"I think he's in a good spot right now. His confidence, physically... he's in a good spot. I wouldn't want to see him change anything. he's pitching how we'd like him to pitch. He uses his fastball and he's trusting in his stuff and locating it."
Nathanael Santiago took over in the sixth and limited Spokane to a single by Diego Cedeno while fanning three through the eighth. Ryan Halstead was perfect in the ninth.
San Francisco first-rounder Christopher Shaw went 2-for-5 with his fifth pro homer, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.
C.J.Hinojosa, the team's 11th-round pick this year, came into Thursday with a home run and multiple hits in each of his previous three games. His homer streak ended, but he went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, making him 17-for-34 (.500) over an eight-game hitting streak.