Hultzen throws four no-hit frames in AFL
M's first-round pick denied first win, but Peoria prevails in Phoenix
Three starts into his pro career, Danny Hultzen remains winless. If he keeps pitching like he did Wednesday in the Arizona Fall League, that streak should end sooner rather than later.
The No. 2 selection in June's First-Year Player Draft completed four no-hit innings in the Peoria Javelinas' 6-3 victory over the host Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Hultzen retired the first 11 batters he faced before issuing an eight-pitch walk to A's No. 2 prospect Michael Choice in the fourth frame. Experimenting with his penultimate batter showed how little a bid at perfection was on the pitcher's mind.
"I threw him a bunch of fastballs and wanted to try something different," Hultzen said, "and I left a change-up up in the zone."
The 21-year-old lefty recorded 10 of his 12 outs on balls in the air. He didn't strike out a batter and threw 52 pitches overall.
"I felt good out there, got very lucky; there were some wild outs that were hit right at the fielders," Hultzen said.
With the opportunity to compete for a job in Seattle next spring after receiving a Major League contract that calls for a $6.35 million bonus, Hultzen has impressed so far this fall. Over the first three outings of his career, he is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA. He has allowed nine hits and three walks over nine innings of work.
Yet his record still reads 0-0.
"I'm not too concerned; it'd be nice to have the first one," said Hultzen, who exited Wednesday's game holding a 3-1 lead.
The Javelinas scored single runs in the first, second and fourth innings in support of Hultzen. The Mets' Jefry Marte led off the fourth with his third AFL home run, a left-field shot against the Yankees' David Phelps. Marte, New York's No. 10 prospect, smacked his first homer in the eighth inning of Saturday's win.
"That was awesome," Hultzen said of Marte's blast Wednesday. "Right off his bat, we knew it was either going over the wall or it was going to knock something over."
Phoenix finally got on the scoreboard thanks leadoff man to Anthony Gose (Blue Jays) in the seventh. Gose drew a bases-loaded walk facing Hultzen's first reliever, Taylor Whitenton (Mets), in the fifth and struck a two-run single against Jeff Ibarra (Padres). That locked the score, 3-3.
Peoria posted a three-run top of the ninth on RBI singles by Chih-Hsien Chiang (Mariners) and Zelous Wheeler (Brewers). Milwaukee's No. 4 prospect, Scooter Gennett, and Oscar Taveras (Cardinals) each recorded three-hit games.
Phelps, the Yanks' No. 8 prospect, couldn't escape the fourth. He allowed all three runs on seven hits over 3 1/3 frames.
Peoria (7-7) and Phoenix (4-10) sit in second and third place respectively in the AFL West Division.
Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.