In the earliest stages of the game, young pitchers are taught to focus on nothing more than themselves and the catcher. On Thursday, the slightly older Class A Advanced Tampa Yankees didn’t really need anyone but each other.
Starting pitcher Zachary Nuding scattered three hits over seven innings and catcher Gary Sanchez was 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs as the Baby Bombers blanked Clearwater, 12-0, at Bright House Field.
The 19-year-old’s two-run blast, which capped a nine-run eighth inning for Tampa, was his third in Class A Advanced, but his first in over a month. He had last gone deep on July 8, a stretch of 22 games. It was his longest drought since going more than a month without a homer for Class A Charleston before his May 8 longball.
After putting up a .297/.353/.517 line with 13 homers and 56 RBIs in 68 games for the RiverDogs, he owns a .260/.319/.413 with three blasts and 11 RBIs in 28 games with Tampa.
While his batterymate showed promise at the plate, Nuding also made him look good behind it. The 6-foot-4 right-hander, who struck out four and allowed only one walk, never allowed more than two Threshers to reach in an inning and retired the final 10 batters he faced.
Since returning from his four-game rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League, Nuding has won each of his last three starts and has earned a 1.35 ERA in those outings. The 30th-round pick from the 2010 Draft is 7-2 with a 3.21 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) this season for Tampa.
Tom Kahnle tossed two no-hit innings in relief to preserve the shutout.
Yankees’ No. 5 prospect Tyler Austin added a homer and two RBIs and third baseman Zach Wilson missed the cycle by just a roundtripper while adding an RBI and a run scored.
Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.