Lucas Giolito continued to put his slow start behind him on Friday as the No. 1 overall prospect struck out a career-high 12 hitters to lead Double-A Harrisburg past Akron, 6-4. He allowed a pair of unearned runs on four hits and one walk in seven innings, matching his longest outing of the season.
Giolito had been throwing the ball increasingly well prior to his season-best outing on Friday, giving up exactly one earned run in each of his past three starts for Harrisburg. On top of that, the Nationals' No. 1 prospect either matched or set new season highs in strikeouts with each subsequent outing, fanning a total of 20 hitters across 19 innings in that span. But those performances paled in comparison to what the 21-year-old right-hander accomplished on Friday night in just his 12th Double-A start.
Giolito tossed two perfect innings to begin the game before running into trouble in the top of the third, when Akron pushed across two runs (both unearned) thanks to a pair of Harrisburg errors and a passed ball. He was utterly dominant after that,however, yielding just three baserunners -- none of whom reached second base -- while racking up 10 strikeouts over his final five innings of work.
Giolito struck out the side swinging in the fourth and fifth innings en route to recording nine swinging strikeouts on the night. He generated three ground-ball outs and another three via the air in the outing, with 65 of his 100 pitches for strikes.
Overall, Giolito, now 5-2, owns a 2.64 ERA and a 62/29 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 61 1/3 innings this season for the Senators.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.