In his longest outing in nearly three years, Hunter Greene sparkled as he twirled six scoreless innings -- working around three hits and a pair of walks -- while matching a career-high 10 punchouts to pace Double-A Chattanooga's 5-1 victory over the Montgomery Biscuits at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium on Sunday.
The hard-throwing righty missed all of 2019 while he recovered from Tommy John surgery, and with the 2020 Minor League season being canceled by the coronavirus pandemic, Sunday marked Greene's third outing of the year and fourth since July 26, 2018. The last time the 21-year-old tossed at least six innings was on July 2, 2018 -- when he fanned 10 over seven shutout frames for Class A Dayton.
MLB Pipeline's No. 58 overall prospect was efficient early on -- needing 14 pitches to navigate through the opening inning with a strikeout. In the second, the California native escaped a two-on and no-out jam unscathed. After a leadoff infield single to second by Jim Haley, Greene walked René Pinto on four pitches. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder got Erik Ostberg swinging on a high fastball for the first out, but another infield hit by Seaver Whalen loaded the bases. Greene whiffed the next two batters -- Kaleo Johnson and Garret Whitley -- on six pitches to end the inning and the threat.
The second-ranked Reds prospect worked around a leadoff double in the third from Miles Mastrobuoni by fanning Jake Palomaki on three pitches before picking off Mastrobuoni at second. He got Moises Gomez swinging through an 0-2 fastball to end the frame on just nine pitches. Greene set down the side in order in the fourth before needing to navigate out of trouble again in the fifth. After recording a quick first out, Greene walked Johnson before Whitley reached on a fielding error by Jose Garcia at short on a ground ball that appeared to be a tailor made double play. With two on and one out again, the 2017 No. 2 overall Draft pick locked back in as he induced back-to-back fly ball outs.
Greene coasted through his final inning -- again sitting down the side in order with two punch outs. He was pulled after throwing 89 pitches, 63 for strikes. His performance lowered his ERA to 1.69, and he is a sporting a .143 average against and 0.69 WHIP.
Over three starts this season, Greene has amassed 25 strikeouts and just three walks over 16 innings. He has never had an outing last fewer than five frames and has recorded at least seven whiffs each time out.
Garcia made up for his error with a three-hit effort at the plate. The fifth-ranked Reds prospect laced a double down the line in left in the first, lined a base hit to left in the third and went back up the middle for a single in the eighth before coming around to score on Yoel Yanqui's second homer of the game.