Dustin May was nothing short of magnificent on Saturday -- and he needed to be at his best.The Dodgers' No. 3 prospect recorded a career-high 14 strikeouts and gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings before Double-A Tulsa walked off with a 2-1, 10-inning win over Amarillo at ONEOK Field.
Dustin May was nothing short of magnificent on Saturday -- and he needed to be at his best.
The Dodgers' No. 3 prospect recorded a career-high 14 strikeouts and gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings before Double-A Tulsa walked off with a 2-1, 10-inning win over Amarillo at ONEOK Field. The strikeout total is a ONEOK Field record for a pitcher.
May said it was definitely the best start of his pro career.
"I was able to just throw whatever I wanted in any count," he said. "I was getting ahead with my curveball early. My cutter was really playing well tonight. I mean, location of fastball, command, it was coming out of my hand really crisp. My changeup was working."
Both hits May allowed were to second baseman Ivan Castillo. He doubled with one out in the fourth and was left stranded, then singled leading off the seventh but was thrown out trying to steal second by Keibert Ruiz.
Gameday box score
"I left a couple pitches up to him and he took advantage of it," May said.
Aside from that, the 21-year-old was perfect.
MLB.com's No. 51 overall prospect fanned two batters in each of his first four frames, struck out the side in the fifth, added one in the sixth and two in his seventh and final inning. Of the nine Sod Poodles in the starting lineup, May punched out eight, including six hitters twice apiece. That included Padres No. 11 prospectBuddy Reed, 18th-ranked Edward Olivares and 23rd-ranked Owen Miller
"He warmed up really well and it carried over into the game," Tulsa pitching coach Dave Borkowski said. "He was a bit of a different animal out there tonight. He had all four pitches working and just really had some overpowering stuff."
Borkowski said it was the second-best outing he'd ever seen by one of his pitchers in his coaching career, bested only by Astros right-hander Chris Devenski's no-hitter with 16 strikeouts on Sept. 1, 2012.
"The ball came out of his hand really well every pitch," Borkowski said. "He was just on point from the get-go."
With two outs in the seventh, May had reached 99 pitches, one shy of his limit. That prompted a visit from Drillers manager Scott Hennessey.
"He was like, 'You're at 99 pitches, there's nothing I can do,'" May said. "And I was like, 'Well, there is something you can do and you can leave because I'm not coming back off this mound until I get this guy out. I'm gonna get this guy right here.' He shrugged his shoulders and went back to the dugout."
May pumped his fist after he struck out Miller with a cutter that swept down and away from the right-handed hitter.
"It was a great feeling to know that I had the ability to tell the manager that I wanna stay and get this last guy," he said, "because I know I'm gonna get him. And then I got him."
The 6-foot-6 right-hander went seven innings for the second straight start, matching his season high. He threw 72 of a career-high 103 pitches for strikes, topping the century mark for the first time since he was drafted in the third round in 2016. He lowered his ERA to 3.74 while moving into second place in the Texas League with 86 strikeouts over 79 1/3 innings.
May said that he'd been sporadic with his stuff this season before Saturday's outing, and that the performance was something he knew he had in him.
"I've been due for a good outing," he said. "This was definitely out of the ballpark of a good outing, so it was definitely an unbelievable feeling. It was a great."
It was the second time the 21-year-old struck out more than 10 in his career -- May fanned 12 last July 12 for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. In 132 2/3 innings over 23 starts between the Quakes and Tulsa last season, he was 9-5 with a 3.39 ERA and 122 strikeouts against 29 walks.
May and Borkowski agreed there's room for improvement and growth in the hurler.
"It's kind of his second time through this league, so teams know him a little bit and know what to expect," Borkowski said. "And there were little things he needed to work on, I think the changeup being the biggest thing, to get that going, get some velo separation. He's now able to work back and forth from all the hard stuff he throws."
May needed to be at his best against Amarillo's Nick Margevicius, who made 12 starts in the big leagues this season. Margevicius took a no-hitter into the sixth, when he allowed two hits and ultimately a run on a bases-loaded walk to DJ Peters. That was all the scoring until Castillo hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth against Yordy Cabrera.
Drew Avans, who entered the game in the ninth as a defensive replacement, lined a walk-off single in the 10th off Jean Cosme to win it for the Drillers. It was his first career Double-A hit.
Shlomo Sprung is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/sprungonsports>@sprungonsports