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Dominguez's faith in Phils' decision paying off

Right-hander has not allowed a hit since moving from rotation to bullpen
Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Swallowing a bit of pride has paid off for Seranthony Dominguez and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Three months ago, Dominguez was a flamethrowing starter at Double-A Reading. On Saturday, the 23-year-old righty pitched two perfect innings to earn his first Major League save in a 7-6 win over the Cardinals.

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ST. LOUIS -- Swallowing a bit of pride has paid off for Seranthony Dominguez and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Three months ago, Dominguez was a flamethrowing starter at Double-A Reading. On Saturday, the 23-year-old righty pitched two perfect innings to earn his first Major League save in a 7-6 win over the Cardinals.

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"When they told me that they wanted me to be a reliever I thought about it for a minute, because obviously any pitcher wants to be a starting pitcher, you don't want to be a reliever at first," Dominguez said through an interpreter. "But then I thought about it and I said, 'I'm going to put it in God's hands. If that's what He wants me to do, if that's what the coaching staff wants me to do, I'm going to do it.'"

Dominguez has been unhittable since making his big league debut on May 7. He is the only reliever in Major League history to not allow a hit or walk in his first six appearances to begin a career.

Dominguez also did not allow a hit in his final seven Minor League appearances before his callup. Combined, that's 16 1/3 hitless innings.

Video: SF@PHI: Dominguez K's Longoria for 1st MLB strikeout

"I think we have felt like we have something special in Seranthony Dominguez," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "He's a strike-thrower and that's a really good profile for a reliever that throws 97 to 99 [mph]. I throw 97 to 99, plus I throw strikes, plus I can land my secondary pitch for a strike -- and by the way, that's kind of nasty, too. Oh, and my fastball has cut and sometimes sink, so those are all characteristics that make us think that Seranthony is special."

Dominguez has earned Kapler's trust in high-leverage situations. On Friday, he entered the game in the seventh inheriting runners on second and third with one out, and got through it unscathed.

Video: PHI@STL: Dominguez retires Garcia to preserve lead

He has given the Phillies a boost and flexibility in a bullpen that has struggled of late.

"He just has an easy, calm demeanor about him," Kapler said. "The situation doesn't get too big for him." Kapler wouldn't rule out future multiple-inning appearances, citing Dominguez's history as a starter, his toughness and how his arm bounces back quickly.

Dominguez's comfort level is increasing by the outing.

"Before, I was a starting pitcher, so I don't really have much experience saving games and being a reliever," Dominguez said. "So all these games, all these situations they are putting me in, it's really good for me, not only confidence but also experience."

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals, Seranthony Dominguez