BRADENTON -- It wasn't long ago that Tyler Glasnow was mired in a personal slump.
Still trying to find a rhythm after missing most of spring training with a sore back, the Bradenton Marauders righty walked four and allowed three earned runs May 10 against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, saddling Glasnow with his third consecutive loss.
When he woke up this morning, Glasnow, ranked the top pitching prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates' organization, owned the lowest ERA in the Florida State League. He put up one of his most dominant performances of the season Thursday, stockpiling 11 strikeouts while allowing a pair of singles in six innings during the Marauders' 5-0 win over the Jupiter Hammerheads in Game 1 of a doubleheader.
Jupiter took Game 2, 9-6. But thanks in part to Glasnow (9-5), who has a 1.53 ERA in 100 innings, Bradenton (29-17, 64-51 overall) owns a one-game lead over Palm Beach in the South Division with 24 games remaining in the regular season.
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"Health-wise, I feel good," said Glasnow, 6-2 with a 1.26 ERA and 74 strikeouts in his last 10 starts. "I'm definitely glad I could bounce back from the injury in spring training. Nothing too major, kind of a bump in the road. ... When I did start pitching, I wasn't doing that great. I think kind of getting a feel of things and getting back into that routine has definitely helped."
After walking the game's first batter, Justin Bohn, Glasnow sent down the next 12, seven via strikeout, and didn't allow another baserunner until Viosergy Rosa opened the fifth with a single.
Minor-league doubleheaders consist of two seven-inning games. But with his pitch count at 90, Glasnow didn't return to the mound in the seventh, watching from the dugout while Jhondaniel Medina clinched Bradenton's 17th shutout. It could have been the first complete game of Glasnow's pro career, which began in 2012 with the Pirates' Gulf Coast League team.
"It was just a pitch-count thing, so I understand," he said. Bradenton gave its ace plenty to work with thanks to a four-run first inning, which was fueled by Eric Wood's two-run single and RBI hits by Max Moroff and Justin Howard.
That was more than enough for Glasnow, now 6-1 with a 0.96 ERA in 10 starts at McKechnie Field.
"Warming up before the game, I just tried to keep everything relaxed coming off these last two starts, which hadn't been the greatest," he said. "I had a little time to think after that first inning, so I came back out that second inning, and just try to stare at the glove and let it be simple."
Bradenton made things interesting during Game 2, scoring three times in the seventh and bringing the tying run to the plate before Justin Howard's flyout to center ended it. Despite the sour finish, the Marauders had 17 hits in the two games -- Wood had four and three RBIs -- and are hitting .255 as a team after struggling offensively during the first half.
Adam Frazier had three hits, and Jacob Stallings added two in the defeat.
"We've just been staying aggressive, passing it one from one guy to another," said first baseman Jordan Steranka, who knocked in two runs in the nightcap. "Now, we're just letting the lineup flow."