Right-hander Nick Kingham, the Pirates' No. 8 prospect, retired the first 17 batters he faced Thursday and threw six scoreless innings. Behind Kingham's strong start, Triple-A Indianapolis defeated Columbus, 1-0, in Game 1 of a doubleheader.
Kingham, ranked No. 85 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, carried a perfect game into the sixth inning. He quickly got the first two outs before catcher Luke Carlin lined a single to center field, ending Kingham's bid for history. Cleveland Indians No. 7 prospect Jose Ramirez followed with another single, and Tyler Holt drew a walk to load the bases. Kingham escaped the jam by striking out Jesus Aguilar to end the inning.
In six innings, Kingham struck out four batters and threw 86 pitches. He bounced back well from a loss to Louisville on Saturday, which was his worst start since being promoted to Indianapolis last month. In that game, he allowed six runs on 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Aside from Saturday's loss, Kingham has pitched well for Indianapolis. He has turned in a quality start the other five times he has taken the ball and is 3-1 with a 1.62 ERA. He has struck out 30 batters and walked six in 39 innings. He began the season with Double-A Altoona, where he went went 1-7 with a 3.04 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 71 innings.