Spotting his pitches for strikes, Smyly struck out a career-high 10 over seven innings Monday in the Class A Advanced Flying Tigers' 1-0 victory over the visiting Palm Beach Cardinals.
Smyly (7-3), Detroit's second-round draft pick in 2010, earned his third straight win. He allowed two hits -- singles to Adam Melker in the third frame and Raniel Rosario in the fifth -- while walking two and plunking one batter.
"I had really good control," he said. "When you can put it where you want it, you're bound for success."
The 22-year-old left-hander -- the Tigers' No. 7 prospect -- had completed seven innings twice before in his first 13 starts. He hadn't held an opposing lineup scoreless since posting seven no-hit frames in a June 8 win over Daytona.
Smyly struck out the side twice and has 77 strikeouts through 80 1/3 innings. He credited his curveball, typically the culprit of his K's.
"That was my swing-and-miss pitch," he said.
He also lowered his ERA to 2.58, the lowest it has been since his pro debut on April 8. The pitcher said the elbow tendinitis that cost him a month of action earlier this season is no longer a concern.
"I can't complain. I'm having a good first pro season," he said. "I had a bump in the road with the DL, but I've been getting stronger every time out."
Cole Nelson and Matt Little combined on two clean final innings.
The Flying Tigers scored their lone run off of Cardinals starter Eric Fornataro in the sixth. Brett Wyatt led off with a single, stole second base, advanced to third base on Jordan Lennerton's groundout and scored on Wade Gaynor's single into center field.
"We have been in a lot of close games lately," Smyly said of his club, which had lost four straight, "and we needed this one."
Fornataro (6-9) scattered seven hits over 6 2/3 strong innings. He fanned three.