The Indians beat Lehigh Valley 4-1 tonight to make a winner out of Brad Lincoln. The Pirates 2006 1st round pick took a one-hit shutout into the 7th inning and settled for 6.2 innings of two hit ball giving up just a run and striking out four. He was better than advertised, mixing a commanding fastball and sharp curveball to cool off one of the leagues hottest teams. I had a chance to talk with our star of the game immediately after the last out.
Did you feel today as good as you looked on the mound?
Yeah,besides the first inning, I had the butterflies going when I walked that first guy and that kinda got to me, but I was able to settle down and get into my groove as I have been all year and I was happy to see the guys do their job behind me. It was a great night.
Was it an advantage for you to be with the team the past three days?
Absolutely, getting in the dugout and feeling the atmosphere at this level was something that I needed. It’s better than just showing up and stepping right in. Being able to sit with Ray (Pitching Coach Ray Searage) and watching the hitters allowed me to understand what I need to do to get guys out at this level. It was a big key for me.
What was your strength tonight?
Being able to command pitches was huge. Early on I struggled to get strike one, but as it is at any level it tends to be easier when you get ahead and I settled down after the first couple of innings and I was able to do that. That really helped me.
How about collecting two hits?
That was exciting. That’s something I’ve been looking forward to doing. I was a hitter in college and I was anxious to get in the box and was fortunate to get those knocks, but I’m here to pitch and not here to hit so that was an added bonus.
Did you feel any pressure tonight?
Um, besides the butterfiles, no. I felt I could compete with the best of them and that’s the way I am. I’m confident with my stuff and hopefully I showed that tonight. I’m not afraid of anyone and I’ll go right at anybody and that helped me get through the game.
He was on cloud nine after the game and before the interview I waited for his teammates to congratulate him. It was really neat to see Jeremy Powell shake his hand and offer him congrats. Jason Davis gave him a hand shake and offered up some private words. You could see that his teammates appreciate him and the effort he put forth tonight.
Lincoln just beat a team that had won 11 of their last 13 game, scoring better than 7 runs a game over that stretch. Tonight he held that team to one hit through 6 innings winning in his Triple-A debut.