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A's Luzardo tosses 6 1/3 scoreless innings

No. 13 overall prospect fans seven in longest outing as a pro
Jesus Luzardo only allowed six base runners over 6 1/3 innings against the D-backs. (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
August 20, 2020

Jesus Luzardo entered Wednesday's start against the D-backs determined to prove that what he's shown through his professional career to this point is just the tip of the iceberg -- that he's got another gear he can tap. Mission accomplished. MLB Pipeline's No. 13 overall prospect showcased exactly that as

Jesus Luzardo entered Wednesday's start against the D-backs determined to prove that what he's shown through his professional career to this point is just the tip of the iceberg -- that he's got another gear he can tap.

Mission accomplished.

MLB Pipeline's No. 13 overall prospect showcased exactly that as he worked around four hits and a pair of walks while fanning a career-best seven over 6 1/3 scoreless frames, pitching the A's to a 4-1 win at the Oakland Coliseum.

The outing was the longest of Luzardo's pro career, eclipsing his previous highwater mark of six innings, which he did twice: on July 9, 2018 with Double-A Midland and last Aug. 30 with Triple-A Las Vegas.

"I feel like everyone has that mentality that I can only go five and dive," Luzardo told reporters after the game. "I want to show I can go longer than that. My arm feels good. I'm ready to show people what I can do."

Against the D-backs, the 22-year-old was efficient as he coasted through six frames. Luzardo (2-0) needed only seven pitches to get through the first, 48 to make it through four and was at 64 after striking out the side in the fifth. The top A's prospect faced two over the minimum through 4 2/3 innings and ended up throwing 58 of 92 pitches for strikes -- including first-pitch strikes to 12 of the 24 batters he faced.

"I thought my changeup was the best it’s been all year. But also with my breaking ball finally back, we worked on it and kind of threw it back in the mix,” Luzardo said. “I was able to throw it for a strike. I had late bite on it, so I was glad to have it back again.

“I think that’s what really helped me today, just being able to have a three-pitch mix. In the past starts, especially in my last one, I was fastball-changeup. So being able to show all three and show that I could throw all three in any count definitely helped my case.”

The first hard-hit ball against Luzardo came with two outs in the sixth when Christian Walker sent a laser to center field that was tracked down by Ramón Laureano. The left-hander yielded six baserunners all night and was aided by a pair of double plays from his defense: an around-the-horn gem that ended the first and a gem started by third baseman Matt Chapman that extinguished Arizona's best threat in the sixth. Both were grounded into by the hot-hitting Starling Marte who Luzardo also whiffed in the fourth.

“It was huge,” Luzardo said. “I think I let him know a hundred times that he’s the man. It saved me a lot of pitches, obviously, let me go back out there for the next inning, getting out of that jam and getting two big defensive plays from Chappy and Oly [Matt Olson]."

After coaxing Eduardo Escobar to fly to center for the first out in the seventh, Luzardo gave up a bloop single to left to Kole Calhoun. Yusmeiro Petit came on and kept the shutout intact.

"I would've liked to have let him try to finish the seventh, but they had hit a couple balls in the sixth; in the seventh, 95 [pitches] is about where I wanted to go," A's skipper Bob Melvin said. "So if he got into a pitch count battle with the next guy, it would've been more than I would've been comfortable with."

Luzardo earned his second win of the year and lowered his ERA to 3.67. In six appearances, including four starts, the southpaw has 27 punchouts while walking 11 over 27 frames. His performance against Arizona comes on the heels of his worst career outing when he allowed six runs on nine hits and a pair of walks over 3 1/3 innings against the Giants.

"I wanted to get the ball the next day, but having to sit back and see what I did and know what my plan had to be moving forward in my next step, bouncing back from the last one, I feel like I had a plan and I worked with it well,” he said. “Now I definitely know what I need to do.”

Second-ranked A's prospect Sean Murphy doubled in the fourth and worked a walk.

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Rob Terranova is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.