Cristian Javier has been nearly unhittable this season, so his Triple-A debut was hardly a surprise. It was also very impressive.
The 10th-ranked Astros prospect gave up two hits and struck out eight over six scoreless innings, but Round Rock fell to New Orleans, 2-1, on Sunday at Dell Diamond.
Video: Round Rock's Javier fans eight batter
Javier retired the first 10 batters he faced, five via the strikeout, and did not allow a hit until Deven Marrero doubled with one out in the fifth.
The 22-year-old joined the Express after allowing 46 hits over 102 2/3 innings with Class A Advanced Fayetteville and Double-A Corpus Christi. The impressive ratio contributed to an opponents' batting average of .131 in 24 games, including 16 starts, entering Sunday.
Gameday box score
Javier struck out four consecutive batters bridging the second and third innings and did not put two runners on in the same frame until the sixth. Eddy Alvarez worked his second walk against the right-hander and Rosell Herrera followed with a double to left field that put both in scoring position with two outs. Following a visit from pitching coach Drew French, Javier retired Yadiel Rivera on a fly ball to shallow to left to end his outing after 99 pitches, 60 for strikes.
2019 MiLB include
The native of the Dominican Republic closed his tenure in the Texas League by yielding three earned runs over his last seven outings. His scoreless effort against New Orleans marked the 14th time in 17 starts he gave up one earned run or fewer. It lowered his ERA to 1.66 and his WHIP to 0.97. The eight punchouts increased his organization-leading total to 162, the fifth-highest figure in the Minors. Royals No. 6 prospect Kris Bubic leads all hurlers with 178 whiffs for Class A Advanced Wilmington.
Josh James yielded the tying run in the seventh and Brendan McCurry (3-4) allowed the go-ahead tally on Rivera's two-out double in the eighth.
Lorenzo Quintana homered for the second straight game to account for Round Rock's offense.
New Orleans starter Joe Gunkel (7-2) alllowed a run on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts in seven innings. Brett Graves struck out two and walked one over two hitless frames to notch his fifth save.