Ashcraft flashes velo, promise in 1st MLB win

CINCINNATI — Of course, Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft didn’t want to come out of Friday’s game. But the rookie still couldn’t help but smile when teammates patted him on the back as manager David Bell emerged to remove him in the seventh inning vs. the Giants.

That’s because the night couldn’t have gone much better for Ashcraft as he earned his first Major League win in the Reds’ 5-1 victory over the Giants, their third straight win.

“There is no way I’m not pleased with the outing I had,” Ashcraft said. “I was filling up the zone. I was doing a lot of first-pitch strikes, getting guys out quick.”

Despite his second big league start and home debut beginning after a two-hour, eight-minute rain delay, Ashcraft was not adversely affected. He delivered 6 1/3 scoreless innings with four hits, two walks and one strikeout while throwing 92 pitches. MLB Pipeline ranks the right-hander as the organization’s No. 7 prospect.

• According to Statcast, Ashcraft twice touched 101 mph with his cutter — both during the first inning. The pitch averaged 97.6 mph while his sinker averaged 96.4 mph and topped out at 100.2 mph.

• Ashcraft threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of his 24 batters, but to each of his first 12 batters in the game.

• The Giants averaged an exit velocity of 87.9 mph on all of Ashcraft’s pitches.

Ashcraft, 24, needed only eight pitches to get through…

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