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McKenzie posts six zeros on board for Tribe

Club's No. 10 prospect notches first scoreless outing in third start
In his third big league start, Triston McKenzie was perfect his first time through the Royals lineup. (Orlin Wagner/AP)
September 3, 2020

Remember the hype that surrounded Triston McKenzie a few years ago? The No. 42 pick in the 2015 Draft has been living up to it since arriving in The Show late last month. On Wednesday, McKenzie (2-0) posted his first scoreless outing in the Majors, allowing three hits over six

Remember the hype that surrounded Triston McKenzie a few years ago? The No. 42 pick in the 2015 Draft has been living up to it since arriving in The Show late last month.

On Wednesday, McKenzie (2-0) posted his first scoreless outing in the Majors, allowing three hits over six innings. He didn't issue any walks and struck out six as the Indians topped the Royals, 5-0, at Kauffman Stadium.

“He was the McKenzie we saw against the Tigers [in his debut],” interim Cleveland manager Sandy Alomar Jr. told reporters after the game. “He was composed and knew what he had to do, and he executed his pitches. He didn't fall behind in the count.”

McKenzie stayed perfect the first time through the Kansas City order. With one out in the fourth, Hunter Dozier beat out an infield single to short to get the Royals into the hit column. But the 23-year-old quickly erased him by inducing a double-play grounder to short.

The Royal Palm Beach High School product got into some trouble in the fifth. With one out, Ryan McBroom singled and Alex Gordon doubled, but some faulty baserunning enabled McKenzie to escape unscathed. The 6-foot-5 hurler gave Kansas City no such opportunities in the sixth, dealing a 1-2-3 frame to cap his outing.

The stellar performance came two starts after his first big league appearance, in which McKenzie struck out 10 while giving up a run on two hits over six innings against the Tigers. The Indians' No. 10 prospect didn't factor into the decision in a shorter stint against the Cardinals on Friday, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks in four frames. His third outing dropped his ERA to 1.69, and opposing batters have gone 8-for-53 against him, but McKenzie admitted that he still deals with pregame nervousness.

“I don’t think that’s ever going to go away,” he said. “But definitely going out there and feeling comfortable in terms of treating it as a learning experience and going out there and competing when mistakes happen. And not getting too high and not getting too low and trusting the guys around me that they’ll be able to pick me up and I’ll be able to go deeper in the game and stuff like that.”

McKenzie ascended as high as No. 21 overall in's Top 100 Prospect rankings in 2017. Then he faced adversity and injuries for a couple years. He only made 16 starts in the Eastern League in 2018 due to a forearm issue. Last season, he dealt with an upper back strain during Spring Training, then missed the rest of the year due to a pectoral strain. Strange Cactus League weather and the COVID-19 shutdown kept him off the mound this spring, and his Aug. 22 big league debut ended a tally of 723 days since he had pitched in a game that counted.

He's been making up for lost time since, and that's not lost on teammates like Tyler Naquin.

“It's explosive,” the right fielder said. “Everything's sharp. … It doesn't surprise me the performances he's putting up there.”

In other action:

Blue Jays 2, Marlins 1

Top Miami prospect Sixto Sanchez was solid, allowing two runs on six hits with five strikeouts over seven innings but suffered his first loss. The 22-year-old righty threw 56 of 79 pitches for strikes and didn’t issue any walks. Fourth-ranked Jazz Chisholm made his first Major League start at shortstop but went 0-for-4 with a strikeout out of the nine-spot. No. 8 Lewin Diaz popped out while pinch-hitting in the ninth. Santiago Espinal, Toronto's No. 21 prospect, went 0-for-3 to lower his average to .233. Box score

Astros 2, Rangers 1

Cristian Javier picked up his fourth big league win after allowing a run on two hits over a career-high 6 2/3 innings. Houston's fifth-ranked prospect was tagged for his lone run in the fourth on a homer by Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Javier finished the night with three strikeouts and two walks en route to his second straight victory. No. 13 Enoli Paredes gave up a hit and struck out one in a scoreless eighth for the Astros. Third-ranked Rangers prospect Leody Taveras went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, while No. 7 Anderson Tejeda went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Box score

Twins 8, White Sox 1

Jorge Alcala, Minnesota's No. 26 prospect, allowed one hit in two scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.76. In nine appearances for the Twins, the 25-year-old is averaging 11 strikeouts per nine innings and has held opponents to a .224 average. Sixth-ranked Ryan Jeffers walked and scored a run. Top White Sox prospect Luis Robert went 0-for-4, but No. 4 Nick Madrigal singled to lead off the third. The No. 43 overall prospect has recorded a hit in all five games since returning from the Injured List. No. 17 Zack Burdi gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in the fifth but struck out the side, including back-to-back whiffs to end the frame. No. 26 Codi Heuer fanned two of the four batters he faced in relief. Box score

Padres 11, Angels 4

San Diego's No. 13 prospect Jake Cronenworth -- the National League Rookie of the Month -- walked and scored a run before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. The University of Michigan product is hitting .346 with a 1.011 OPS. Tenth-ranked Jorge Mateo popped out in the ninth as a pinch-hitter and No. 20 Javy Guerra gave up a run on two hits in the ninth before closing out the win. Top Angels prospect Jo Adell was hitless in four at-bats. Box score

Dodgers 3, D-backs 2

Fourth-ranked Los Angeles prospect Brusdar Graterol pitched a perfect eighth, dropping his ERA to 2.57 in 14 appearances. No. 21 Victor Gonzalez worked around a walk in a scoreless ninth. Top prospect Gavin Lux went 0-for-3 and is batting .118 in five games. Third-ranked Arizona prospect Daulton Varsho was 0-for-4 but scored a run. Box score

Cubs 8, Pirates 2

Bucs No. 25 prospect Anthony Alford racked up his first two hits, including a home run, for his new club. The 26-year-old singled in the fourth off Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks and launched a solo shot to center field in the seventh off reliever Ryan Tepera. Put on waivers by the Blue Jays on Aug. 20, Alford was picked up by the Pirates a week later. A day after homering and doubling in his Major League debut, second-ranked Ke'Bryan Hayes struck out three times in four at-bats. Box score

Reds 4, Cardinals 3

In his third Major League start, St. Louis No. 12 prospect Johan Oviedo was charged with three runs on three hits over 4 2/3 innings. The 22-year-old righty issued one walk while fanning a career-high five but didn't factor in the decision. Since his big league debut on Aug. 18, Oviedo sports a 4.30 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. For Cincinnati, sixth-ranked Jose Garcia went hitless in four at-bats and struck out twice. Box score

Rays 5, Yankees 2

Randy Arozarena smacked a two-run homer in Tampa Bay’s four-run first inning. The club's No. 19 prospect finished 1-for-3 with a walk. New York’s No. 17 prospect Nick Nelson relieved starter Jordan Montgomery with two outs in the first. The 24-year-old righty pitched two hitless frames, giving up three walks and striking out two. Box score

Phillies 3, Nationals 0

Top Philadelphia prospect Alec Bohm was 1-for-4, with the 24-year-old third baseman's lone hit coming on a sharp line drive in the fourth off Nationals starter Max Scherzer.'s No. 30 overall prospect is hitting .288 with a .833 OPS through his first 17 games. Second-ranked Washington prospect Luis Garcia picked up his lone hit in the seventh, knocking Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler out of the game. Box score

Rockies 9, Giants 6

Colorado’s No. 14 prospect Ryan Castellani gave up two hits and struck out two in two innings of relief. The righty’s first scoreless outing in five appearances lowered his ERA to 4.81. No. 18 Josh Fuentes, who's batting .348 over eight games this season, went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Top San Francisco prospect Joey Bart collected an RBI single in the first and scored on a homer by Mike Yastrzemski in the third. Box score

Mets 9, Orioles 4

Andrés Giménez , New York’s third-ranked prospect, entered as a pinch-runner after Robinson Cano doubled in the eighth inning and crossed the plate on Jake Marisnick's single. No. 12 David Peterson (4-1) scattered two hits and two walks while fanning one over four frames in relief of starter Michael Wacha. The southpaw has picked up wins in three of his last four outings. Fifth-ranked Baltimore prospect Ryan Mountcastle went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. He’s batting .341 in 11 games in The Show. Box score

Braves 7, Red Sox 5

Boston right-hander Robinson Leyer threw a scoreless frame in his second Major League appearance, his first start. The 27-year-old from the Dominican Republic allowed a hit and a walk while striking out two to lower his ERA to 4.50. Third-ranked Red Sox prospect Bobby Dalbec went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts as his average fell to .167. Box score

Brewers 8, Tigers 5

No. 17 prospect Bryan Garcia faced one batter in the seventh for Detroit. The 25-year-old induced a groundout from Ben Gamel to end the frame and has a 1.93 ERA over 14 innings in 17 games. Sixth-ranked Isaac Paredes went hitless in four at-bats and fanned twice. Box score

Paige Schector is an editor for