Rafael Montero pitched the best game of his major league career last night in the New York Mets 2-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds with 8.1 scoreless innings and carried a one-hitter into the ninth inning.
Montero would enter the ninth inning having thrown 104 pitches and would get pinch hitter Billy Hamilton to ground out before trouble started. Montero allowed back-to-back hits to Phillip Ervin and Zack Cozart to end his incredible outing.
Montero wound up going shutout 8.1 innings allowing three hits, four walks (one intentional) and a season-high eight strikeouts. The 26-year-old right-hander threw strike one to 24 of the 30 batters he faced.
Rafael topped out at 96.7 MPH on the night and maintained the velocity throughout the start. His changeup was also very effective on the night and he really utilized it, throwing 39 of them in the game and not one resulted in a hit. He threw his changeup 33% of the time, the highest amount in his major league career,
Montero became the third pitcher in Mets history to throw at least eight innings without allowing a run despite entering the game with an ERA of 5.50 or higher and 25 games pitched. Galen Cisco at Wrigley Field on July 29, 1965 and Pat Misch at Florida on September 27, 2009.
Montero now has a 2.14 ERA over his last four starts and has shown a glimmer of hope that he could tap into the once highly-touted skill set.