Flores outduels former World Series MVP Josh Beckett
Kendry Flores made his High-A debut with the San Jose Giants on Friday night. Conveniently, two-time World Series champion and 2003 World Series MVP Josh Beckett made a rehab start with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on the same night. Even more convenient, Dodgers 17-year-old phenom Julio Urias was scheduled to pitch the game's remaining innings once Beckett reached his pitch allotment. Heck of a way to start a long season.
So when Flores didn't allow a hit to the Quakes until a bunt single to begin the sixth inning, while Beckett was busy giving up back-to-back dingers to minor leaguers before recording an out, all was well.
Known for his precise control as a member of the Augusta GreenJackets in 2013, Flores displayed more of the same, allowing a single walk over seven two-hit innings. The 22-year-old struck out six, too, mixing in all five of his pitches, including a four-seam fastball that peaked at 95, an 82-mph changeup, and a sharp curve that sat in the high-70s.
Bravo, Kendry. Beating L.A. at this stage goes a long way in winning the hearts of Giants fans.
Two first-inning homers supply entire offense
Elliott Blair and Mitch Delfino took Beckett deep (video of both below), with Blair's being of the two-run variety after Jesus Galindo walked to open up the ballgame. Galindo has gone to the plate 10 times in two games, reaching base on five occasions and stealing two bags. Brian Ragira also added a sharp single up the middle, but Beckett calmed after the three-run first frame.
Bullpen work of Okert, Mizenko preserve Flores gem
Left-hander Steven Okert and right-handed sinkerballer Tyler Mizenko struck out two apiece in their inning of work to aid San Jose in their second straight win to begin the season. Okert hammered the strike zone with a 93-95 mile per hour fastball while Mizenko threw heavy sink between 90 and 93. Both former Augusta GreenJackets countered with sharp sliders, with Mizenko's looking the best on Friday night. Mizenko, who led the South Atlantic League in saves (25) in 2013, picked up his first save of the season.