Tasked with starting the most important game of the season, Brendan McKay was at his best.
McKay, Tampa Bay's No. 3 prospect (No. 29 overall), was nearly untouchable on Tuesday as he allowed one hit in five scoreless innings to lead Class A Short Season Hudson Valley past Staten Island, 7-1, and into the New York-Penn League finals.
McKay retired the first 11 batters he faced and carried a perfect game bid into the fourth inning before allowing a two-out single. He set a career high with six strikeouts in the outing, throwing 47 of his 62 pitches for strikes.
MILB Video - Title: McKay notches a strikeout - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1829189783
"I got into a lot of positive counts where I could attack and force them to swing at pitches that weren't good pitches to hit or get outs on good pitches," McKay told MiLB.com.
"When you see that line, you're going to have a good chance to win," Hudson Valley manager Craig Albernaz said. "He set the tone for the most part, pounding the zone. His fastball had good life, he was spinning it well and kept them off-balance. He gave our offense the chance to get something going and put pressure on them. ... Five [innings] was his max today, no matter what, and that's what we went with."
McKay's outing was his first since Sept. 4, when the 21-year-old left-hander tossed a then-career-high five innings of one run ball against Lowell to record his first professional win.
Selected third overall in the 2017 Draft, McKay saw more time at first base and designated hitter during his debut than he did on the mound. Luckily for the Renegades, McKay's focus on hitting had little effect on his pitching, as the three-time John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award winner posted a 1.80 ERA with a .149 opponents' average and 21 strikeouts in 20 innings spanning six starts.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Tuesday
• No. 16 overall prospect Willy Adames (Rays' No. 2) and Jake Bauers (No. 78 overall, Rays' No. 5) both scored a run and collected a pair of hits to help power Triple-A Durham's offense to a 6-0 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Game 1 of the Governors' Cup. Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (Rays' No. 23) was dominant on the mound, allowing just three hits and striking out four while throwing 83 pitches (53 strikes) over seven innings.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Yarbrough goes 7 scoreless - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1829604883
• No. 44 overall prospect Kyle Lewis (Mariners' No. 1) was one of three Modesto hitters to collect with at least two hits and two RBIs, going 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs in a 13-6 win over Lancaster in Game 1 of the California League finals. Joe Rizzo (No. 13) drove in four runs for the Nuts and fell a triple short of the cycle in a 3-for-5 performance that included his first home run at the Class A Advanced level.
• No. 82 overall prospect Yusniel Diaz (Dodgers' No. 5) and Drew Jackson (No. 18) each hit a triple and went 2-for-4 while combining for four RBIs to lead Double-A Tulsa past Midland, 5-3, in Game 1 of the Texas League finals. The duo did much of that damage during the Drillers' four-run second inning, when Jackson laced a two-run triple to right field before Diaz capped the scoring with his own.
MILB Video - Title: Diaz triples home a run - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1829285483
• Blue Jays No. 4 prospect Logan Warmoth hit a go-ahead two-run single in the top of the fifth inning as Class A Short Season Vancouver won the Northwest League title with a 2-1 win over Eugene. Selected 22nd overall in this year's Draft, the 22-year-old shortstop slashed .306/.356/.419 with 14 extra-base hits over 39 games with Vancouver during his pro debut.
• Pirates No. 23 prospect Brandon Waddell stifled Double-A Trenton's offense as he tossed six scoreless innings to record the win for Altoona in Game 1 of the Eastern League finals. The 23-year-old lefty scattered five hits while registering six strikeouts and nine groundouts in the performance. He allowed one hit in the final three innings and retired nine of the final 10 hitters he faced.
MILB Video - Title: Waddell notches a strikeout - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1829466583
• Red Sox No. 11 prospect Bobby Dalbec recorded two go-ahead hits, including an RBI double in the top of the 13th inning, to help Class A Greenville edge Kannapolis, 8-7, in Game 1 of the South Atlantic League finals. Brett Netzer (No. 30) also had a big game for the Drive, going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs while also reaching twice via walks.
• Rockies No. 19 prospect Sam Hilliard's three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning helped keep Lancaster from being shut out by Modesto in Game 1 of the California League finals. The 23-year-old outfielder was one of 10 Minor Leaguers to hit at least 20 home runs and steal at least 20 bases during the regular season, finishing with 21 and 37, respectively.