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BayBears' Skaggs retires 19 straight
D-backs prospect fans seven, tosses seven two-hit innings
08/13/2011 12:33 AM ET
Before being traded, Tyler Skaggs was an Angels' first-round draft pick in 2009.
Before being traded, Tyler Skaggs was an Angels' first-round draft pick in 2009. (Tim Evearitt/Lookouts)
Tyler Skaggs first five pitches on Friday resulted in two men on base with nobody out.

So much for foreshadowing.

The D-backs top prospect retired the next 19 batters he faced and pitched seven strong innings in the Mobile BayBears' 8-1 victory over the visiting Mississippi Braves.

"After that first inning, I kind of settled in," said Skaggs, MLB.com's No. 17 prospect. "It was kind of a weird feeling, never pitching out of the stretch."

Ever had that feeling before?

"Never," he said. "Actually in my entire life."

Skaggs (3-1) struck out seven and did not walk a batter. He did plunk leadoff man Antoan Richardson before allowing Mycal Jones' bunt single toward the mound. Two batters later, Skaggs fanned Ernesto Mejia on a changeup and Richardson was caught stealing near the plate.

The 20-year-old left-hander didn't allow another batter to reach until there were two outs in the seventh. Meija sent a first-pitch outside fastball toward the opposite-field and over the fence for his team record-tying 19th homer.

"He cheated on the pitch," Skaggs said, "got what he was looking for."

The former first-round pick retired the next batter, Dan Nelson, on three strikes but did not emerge from the dugout for the eighth inning. Skaggs, who threw 53 of 77 pitches for strikes, said he was lifted because of his increasing innings count. D-backs brass have not given him a specific limit, though he's currently at 125 1/3 innings between two levels.

The Woodlands, Calif., native improved to 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA through five starts at Double-A. He allowed five runs over four innings on July 15 in his first game following a promotion from Class A Advanced Visalia.

"My first start wasn't what I wanted it to be," he said. "I feel like I have hit my second wind. I feel like I belong here."

The BayBears did most of their damage against starter Luis Avilan (3-7), who gave up five runs on nine hits and four walks over five frames.

A.J. Pollock, another former first-rounder, went 3-for-5 with an RBI and his 29th stolen base for Mobile.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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