Blackburn among 10 top prospect performers Monday

Giants No. 21 prospect does not allow a hit until the sixth inning for River Cats

Blackburn among 10 top prospect performers Monday

Clayton Blackburn picked a perfect night for his best start of the season.

The Giants' No. 21 prospect allowed only two hits and struck out nine while working a season-high 7 1/3 scoreless innings on Monday as Triple-A Sacramento edged Reno, 1-0.

The right-hander retired the first 16 batters of the game before yielding a one-out single in the top of the sixth inning to Danny Worth. He departed the game in the eighth inning after allowing a one-out double to Peter O'Brien.

Blackburn, 22, has been excellent over his last 12 starts for the River Cats, posting a 7-1 record, 2.27 ERA and 56/16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 71 1/3 innings. On top of that, he's made 14 consecutive starts in which he's allowed no more than two earned runs.

After missing the first month of the season due to injury, Blackburn -- a 16th-round pick in 2011 -- is 9-4 with a 3.03 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 94/31 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 116 innings (22 games/19 starts) for Sacramento.

The right-hander has been too hittable at times, resulting in 121 knocks allowed in that span, though that's a common occurrence for any young pitcher residing in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. The good news is that he's consistently minimized the damage both by keeping the ball in the yard (0.47 HR/9) and inducing a favorable number of groundball outs.

The Giants will need to add Blackburn to its 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

The rest of the 10 best performances from top Minor Leaguers

Astros No. 4 prospect (No. 61 overall) Kyle Tucker went 3-for-4 with a double and two stolen bases on Monday for Rookie-level Greenville, the fourth three-hit performance of his young career. The 2015 No. 5 overall Draft pick has hit safely in four straight games, during which he's batting .429 with five RBIs and four steals. The 18-year-old outfielder got off to a slow start in the Gulf Coast League -- posting a .584 OPS in 33 games -- but has fared significantly better since moving up to the Appalachian League, batting .284/.316/.394 with 10 extra-base hits, 19 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 29 games.

Athletics No. 21 prospect Jaycob Brugman tallied a pair of extra-base hits in Double-A Midland's loss to Frisco, finishing 2-for-3 with a home run, double and four RBIs. The 23-year-old extended his hitting streak to seven games in the process, during which he's batting .500 (13-for-26) with one home run, four doubles and eight RBIs. A 17th-round Draft pick in 2013, Brugman quietly enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2014, batting .280/.354/.506 with 21 home runs, 25 doubles and 72 RBI in 120 games between the Class A and Class A Advanced levels. The outfielder's power numbers have dropped off this year in his first taste of the Double-A level, though he's still batting a very respectable .263/.345/.389 with 40 extra-base hits through 126 games.

Cubs No. 5 prospect (No. 96 overall) Albert Almora stayed hot Monday, collecting a double and triple in four at-bats for Double-A Tennessee to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. The 21-year-old outfielder has hit safely in 27 of his last 29 contests, with a .375 average, 20 runs scored, 15 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs in that span. After posting a .625 OPS during the first half of the season, Almora is batting .312/.377/.484 with 35 runs scored and 23 extra-base hits in his last 48 contests for the Smokies.

Mets No. 1 prospect (No. 16 overall) Steven Matz was excellent in his final rehab start for Double-A Binghamton, allowing just one hit over 5 1/3 scoreless frames. The 24-year-old left-hander struck out four and walked a pair, throwing 49 of 78 pitches for strikes, and he also induced eight groundball outs. Matz is expected to rejoin the Mets' rotation for his next start after striking out 10 batters and yielding only two hits in 11 1/3 innings for Binghamton. Before landing on the disabled list, Matz was 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 13 2/3 innings (two starts) for the Mets.

Phillies No. 3 prospect (No. 56 overall) Jake Thompson guided Double-A Reading to a 6-2 win over Binghamton on Monday, allowing two earned runs on eight hits in seven innings. He struck out four in the contest and did not issue a walk. The 21-year-old right-hander has turned in six quality starts for Reading since coming over from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels deal, going 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 39 innings in that span. On the season, Thompson has pitched to a 3.99 ERA with 101 strikeouts in 119 2/3 innings (22 starts) between the Rangers' and Phillies' Double-A affiliates.

Rays No. 6 prospect Taylor Guerrieri capped a brilliant month with five more scoreless innings as Double-A Montgomery took down Mobile, 2-0. The 22-year-old right-hander scattered five hits and one walk while striking out two, finding the strike zone with 46 of 66 pitches. In six August starts for the Biscuits, Guerrieri is 3-0 with a 0.60 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 21/5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 30 innings. The 2011 first-rounder missed most of the 2013-14 seasons serving a 50-game suspension (for a drug of abuse) and recovering from Tommy John surgery -- logging only 76 1/3 frames between both years -- but he's returned strong in '15 to post a 1.92 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 75 innings between Class A Advanced Charlotte and Montgomery.

Reds No. 9 prospect Cody Reed fired eight scoreless innings on Monday as Double-A Pensacola defeated Jackson, 1-0. The 22-year-old left-hander allowed four hits and struck out eight in the outing, marking the second time in his last seven starts in which he's thrown eight scoreless innings for Pensacola. He's also struck out at least eight batters on four separate occasions in that span. Since joining the Reds organization at the Trade Deadline, Reed is 5-2 with a 2.47 ERA and 51/15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 43 2/3 innings (seven starts).

Twins No. 2 prospect (No. 23 overall) Jose Berrios was sharp in what might be his final start in the Minor Leagues, allowing one run on four hits in six innings as Triple-A Rochester defeated Pawtucket, 4-2. The 21-year-old right-hander's five strikeousts raised his Minor League-leading total to 170, and he's walked just 37 batters in 161 1/3 innings. A candidate to join the Twins as a September callup, Berrios is 3-2 with a 2.03 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 48/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his last six starts for Rochester.

White Sox No. 1 prospect (No. 41 overall) Tim Anderson filled out the box score in Double-A Birmingham's 5-4 win over Chattanooga, going 3-for-5 with a double, triple, two runs scored and a stolen base. The 22-year-old shortstop currently leads the Southern League in hits (160), runs scored (79) and steals (49), ranks second in triples (12), third in total bases (214) and fourth in batting average (.312). Overall, the 2013 first-rounder has posted a .779 OPS to go along with 38 extra-base hits and 46 RBIs in 125 games for the Barons.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.