Everett can thank Stanton for that. The compact right-hander’s secret weapon was his slider, which had Vancouver’s batters fishing as if they were in town for the summer Sockeye run. Any time Stanton had a right-handed batter at two strikes he lured him in with a slider that started out over the plate, only to dart well out of range. More often than not the batter bit, flailing helplessly at a pitch he couldn’t reach. Seven of Stanton’s nine strikeouts came via a swing-and-miss at the slider.■ Zagone dominant as Keys win, 5-1 (Frederick News Post)
“I don’t know where that came from,” Stanton said about his slider. “Usually my curveball is my go-to pitch. But today (catcher Trevor) Coleman was calling fastballs in, followed by sliders. I guess they weren’t picking up the spin. It was a little sharper, a little harder today, and I kept it in the dirt.”
The net result was probably Everett’s best start of the season. Stanton allowed just three hits and three walks during his seven shutout innings. He got stronger as the game went along, fanning two batters in each of his final three innings of work.
Rick Zagone is considered one of the Orioles' better pitching prospects and Wednesday night it was evident why.
The left-hander allowed one run on three hits in seven innings and struck out six with no walks as the Keys beat Kinston 5-1 at Harry Grove Stadium. He retired the first 12 batters he faced and pitched six perfect innings.
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"Two starts ago, he had trouble throwing strikes and his last outing he threw strikes, but not many quality strikes," Keys pitching coach Kennie Steenstra said. "Tonight, he pitched down in the zone much better and mixed his pitches a bit better."