Brandon Hynick is as superstitious as the next guy when it comes to talking about in-game streaks. But the one the Modesto Nuts' right-hander is riding right now is a perfectly fine topic for discussion.
Hynick threw the first seven innings of Modesto's 5-0 victory over Bakersfield on Friday night, limiting the Blaze to three baserunners, all singles.
That came after his season-opening six-inning stint against Randy Johnson and the Visalia Oaks in which he allowed no earned runs in six innings, and a second start in Bakersfield that saw him throw five shutout innings.
It adds up to no earned runs in 18 innings over three starts for Hynick (2-0). In that time, he's allowed 12 hits and struck out 11 with only two walks.
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"I do believe in some jinxes, like talking about perfect games and no-hitters, but this streak is not one of them," Hynick said. "I'm just throwing strikes, keeping the ball down and mixing things up."
Actually, this kind of effort has been typical for Hynick, 22, in his brief professional career. He was an eighth-round draft pick of Colorado last year and was sent to short-season Casper, where he allowed three or fewer runs in 11 of his 12 starts and was named the Pioneer League's pitcher of the year.
It helped Hynick that another streak came to an end. For the first time this season, the Nuts jumped out to a first inning lead.
It started when Dexter Fowler led off by reaching on an infield error. He moved to third when Chris Nelson lined a one-out single — the first of his three hits — and both runners scored on Jose Valdez's double down the right-field line.
The Nuts added a run in the fourth when Daniel Carte doubled to left and came around to score on two wild pitches uncorked by Blaze starter Ronald Bay (1-1). Nelson's double, three walks and a hit batter plated two more in the eighth.
Pedro Strop and Brett Strickland retired the final six Blaze batters in order to preserve the three-hit shutout started by Hynick — a game any Modesto player or fan would gladly discuss. Like Hynick's streak.
"We like to talk about guys who do good things, and he did," Nuts manager Jerry Weinstein said. "He has a plan and he pitches to it."