Allen Tosses Eight Shutout Innings

James Allen might not have entered this season as one of the top Cincinnati pitching prospects, but the way he's pitched for Bakersfield after a rough first outing gives reason to believe he's ready to ascend up the list. He tossed eight two-hit, shutout innings in Tuesday's 1-0 Blaze win and now has one of the ten lowest ERA's in the California League.

In an atypical California League game Juan Silverio broke a scoreless tie in the ninth inning with a solo homer as Bakersfield won 1-0 at High Desert. James Allen got the start for the Blaze and turned a gem, limiting the Mavericks to two hits and two walks over eight shutout innings while striking out three. He pitched deep enough in the game to get the win and Jamie Walczak retired the side in order in the ninth for the save. Walczak has not allowed a run this year after five appearances. The Blaze offense was held to only five hits and Steve Selsky who had one of them in addition to a walk was their only hitter to reach safely twice.

The outing lowered Allen's ERA under four and moved him into the Cali League's top ten in that category. That is more impressive when looking at Allen's performance after he got pounded for ten runs in his high-A debut this season. Over his last ten outings he's kept a 2.61 ernie while tossing nearly sixty innings with opponents hit only .203 against him over that period.

It's not the first time that Allen has been effective in his professional career. In 2011 he torched Pioneer League hitter for a 1.26 ERA/0.907 WHIP in 22 appearances out of the Billings bullpen. He started out as a reliever last year at Dayton, but was moved into their rotation in the second half of the season. He finished with a 3.72 ERA and 1.152 WHIP and even threw an inning at the AAA level.

Allen is a 6'1"/197# right-hander that was selected by the Reds in the seventh round in 2011 out of Kansas St. Earlier he was rated one of the top reliever prospects Cincinnati system but the way he's pitching now it could be expected that he will remain in the rotation for a while. His strikeout rate has taken a dip after his promotion but he still brings a mid-90's fastball. He has been tagged for some home runs this season, but five of them came in his disastrous first start. Meanwhile he's maintained his impressive rate of keeping the ball on the ground and overall his ground/air out ratio has been 1.28 this year.

It would not be the first time that the Reds have successfully converted a collegiate reliever into a minor league starter as former Rice closer Tony Cingrani acquitted himself well for six turns in the Reds rotation earlier this season. The other top ERA in the Bakersfield rotation right now is Carlos Contreras who closed for Dayton and the Blaze last season. Allen's performance after his first outing has been impressive and he's working his way into a position to possibly break into lists of top prospects in the organization.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds dropped Game Two of their home set against the Rockies by a score of 5-4. They led going into the eighth inning before allowing two runs which provided the final score. Homer Bailey got no decision from a quality start, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out seven over seven innings. Sam LeCure pitched an inning and allowed a two-run homer which cost him the loss. His ERA is still under two for the season. The Reds cut into a three-run deficit in the second inning when Todd Frazier led off with a double and later scored on a ground ball. They tied the score in the fourth off RBI doubles by Frazier and Ryan Hanigan. Xavier Paul gave his team a brief lead in the seventh when he doubled and later scored on a balk. Frazier and Shin-soo Choo each finished with two of the Reds eight hits.

Louisville struck for three runs in the first inning and cruised to an 8-2 win over visiting Norfolk. Felix Perez got the party started with a two-run double before scoring on a Nevin Ashley single. Ashley increased the lead with another RBI-single in the fourth before the Bats plated another run from a throwing error during a stolen base. Ashley then doubled in the fifth and scored on a sac fly. Finally Denis Phipps singled home two more in the eighth to cap off his team's scoring. Henry Rodriguez and Ashley led their team with four and three hits respectively. Josh Fellhauer reached via two hits and a walk, Mike Hessman walked three times, and Billy Hamilton added two singles and two stolen bases. On the mound Greg Reynolds had another good outing and took the win after allowing only one unearned run off six hits without a walk in seven innings.

Pensacola's game at Montgomery was suspended by rain in the seventh inning with the Wahoos holding a 2-1 lead.

Dayton had an off-day and will resume their schedule at Bowling Green on Wednesday.

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