Salt Lake Buzz fans got their initial look at pitcher Mike Misuraca Friday night at Franklin Quest Field.
He made quite the first impression.Misuraca, making his second start for the Buzz and first in Salt Lake, was brilliant in pitching a complete game 9-3 victory over the Tacoma Tigers.
"From my standpoint that was the best pitched game I've seen all year, for us anyway," Buzz manager Scott Ullger said.
Misuraca gave up a run in the second on an RBI double by Jason Giambi, but then retired 16 of the next 17 hitters he faced - including 13 in a row at one point. After the game was already decided the Tigers added single runs in the eighth and ninth, one of which was unearned after a two-base fielding error.
Misuraca had outstanding control, as he didn't yield a walk while striking out eight. He also forced Tiger hitters into 13 ground ball outs.
"I would have to rate it up there as one of my best performances of the year," said Misuraca, who has 8-4 at Double-A Nashville before being called up last week. "If feels good to pitch well at a higher level and it was the first time I've pitched all nine (innings) this year."
"He had a good fastball, good slider, good curve and he didn't walk anybody," Ullger said. "That's the kind of pitching that gets you moved up (in the organization) quickly."
Misuraca had plenty of help from the Buzz offense. Salt Lake pounded 13 hits and scored at least one run in each of the first five innings.
Second baseman Brian Raabe put the Buzz on the board first with a two-run homer in the first. David McCarty added an RBI sacrifice fly to give Salt Lake a 3-0 lead. Raabe added an run-scoring double in the second to give the Buzz all the scoring they would need.
Seven of the nine Buzz starters had at least one base hit and the two who went hitless - Jeff Carter and McCarty - scored runs.
"Their guy threw the ball pretty well, but they also hit the ball hard," Tacoma manager Casey Parsons said. "The Buzz are the best hitting club in the league and they showed why tonight."
The Tigers used four pitchers on the night. Starter Dana Allison (7-6) was saddled with the loss.
The Tigers and Buzz will play the second game of the four-game set tonight. RHP Jon Henry (0-0, 6.35 ERA) is scheduled to make his second start as a Buzzman against Tiger RHP Tanyon Sturtze (1-0, 4.15).
BUZZ BRIEFS - Shortstop Denny Hocking continues to swing a red-hot bat since being sent down by the Minnesota Twins last week. He was 2-for-4 Friday with an RBI. Since returning to the Buzz, Hocking is 8-for-15 (.533) and has driven in six runs in the four games . . . Carter pulled a hamstring in the second inning as he ran down a fly ball in right field. He was replaced by Juan De La Rosa in the sixth and will likely miss a game or two to recuperate . . . There will be a fireworks show following tonight's game. A near-sellout crowd is expected.