May mystifies Sox in 1st career scoreless start

Twins young righty allows 2 hits, both in the 3rd, while fanning 9 over 7 innings in nightcap

May mystifies Sox in 1st career scoreless start

BOSTON -- The calendar might say June, but Wednesday night at Fenway Park belonged to May -- Twins pitcher Trevor May.

The young right-hander was marvelous in Minnesota's 2-0 victory over the Red Sox in Game 2 of a day-night doubleheader, tossing a season-high nine strikeouts and no walks over seven innings. He allowed only two baserunners in the entire game -- a single and a double in the third inning -- and retired the last 13 batters he faced.

The winning effort marked the first scoreless start of May's fledgling career, and it was arguably the best game he has thrown to date.

"That might be as well as I've seen him pitch in terms of command, first-pitch strikes," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "No walks. He had a couple three-ball counts along the way. They weren't just first-pitch strikes, they were quality strikes. Pitches that they really couldn't do a lot with if they would have decided to offer."

To be more precise, May saw only three three-ball counts and threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the batters he faced. He constantly found himself working ahead of hitters, buzzing his fastball high over the inner and outer third of the plate, and cruised through the outing as the Red Sox fought to even make contact.

"That's kind of the whole philosophy of just trying to stay on," May said. "Have a good game plan every time we got out and be aggressive in the zone. Kind of make them beat you. The more you do it, the better chance you have of things going your way."

May fanned seven batters on elevated fastballs. The remaining two punchouts came on a curveball and a changeup.

"Trevor's got a rise ball," catcher Chris Herrmann said. "It's hard for anybody to hit that pitch, really. You guys saw a ton. Threw a bunch of pitches up for them to hit, and they couldn't hit it. That's that."

After pitching to a 7.88 ERA in 10 games last season, averaging 4.34 walks per nine innings all the while, May has begun to settle down nicely in 2015. Over his last four starts, he has posted a 3.38 ERA and issued just one walk in those games.

Coming from a player who was not a lock to earn a spot in the rotation this spring, the Twins can't help but feel encouraged by his progress.

"I think that we're pleased that he's come along and showed a maturation that we like to see in a young pitcher who's gaining experience and seems to be learning both from his success as well as when he struggles," Molitor said. "He's an intelligent guy. I think he puts a lot of thought into the work he does when he's out there on the mound. Tonight was one of those ones where he kind of put us on his back."

Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.