Sometimes being the hero is as simple as hitting a groundball. There are certainly cooler ways to win, but if no one hits that groundball you’re in trouble. And pairing the game-winning RBI with a couple of hits in the game is always nice.
Arizona Fall League: Phoenix Desert Dogs 6, Surprise Saguaros 5
The Saguaros were rolling. Cardinals prospect Seth Blair started for Surprise and gave them 4 strong innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 2 while walking 1 and posting a 5-3 groundout to flyout ratio. A trio of relievers continued to hold the Desert Dogs back. Meanwhile, the Surprise offense was having their way, with the Red Sox’ Bryce Brentz slamming a 2-run home run and the Rangers’ Chris McGuiness driving in 3 on a pair of singles. Phoenix entered the 9th trailing by 5-1 score. The Saguaros brought in Red Sox prospect Pete Ruiz to finish the game, but the 9th inning did not go remotely near as planned for Surprise. The Brewers’ Hunter Morris slammed a solo homer to begin the inning to make it 5-2. Then a single, a hit batsman, and a Tim Beckham single loaded the bases and put the tying runs on base. Ruiz finally recorded an out on a popout, but then another Brewers prospect, Max Stassi, came through with a 2-run single to make it 5-4. Then an error scored Beckham to tie the game at 5 and put Nick Ahmed (Braves), who had pinch-run for Stassi on third base with the potential go-ahead run. And after the Rangers’ Ben Rowen entered the game, Hak-Ju Lee hit a groundball to third base where the only play was to 1st, scoring Ahmed to give the Desert Dogs an improbable lead. Rays prospect Kirby Yates worked a 1-2-3 innings in the 9th for his first save to end it as the Desert Dogs won 6-5. Lee went 2 for 5 with the go-ahead RBI, raising his AFL batting average to .290, while Beckham went 2 for 4 with the game-tying run scored.
Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 6, Tigres del Licey 1
Old Rays and new Rays united as the Aguilas rolled over the Tigres. Tim Corcoran, who pitched for the Devil Rays from 2005 to 2007, started for Cibaenas and was excellent, going 6.1 innings allowing just 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1 and posting a 9-2 groundout to flyout ratio. He now has a 2.61 ERA in 4 DWL starts, allowed 1 earned run or less in three out of the four. Corcoran is 34 years old and hasn’t appeared in the major leagues since 2007, but the Dodgers signed him at the end of the 2012 minor league season after a strong Mexican League performance and he has continued to pitch well in the Dominican. In terms of the Cibaenas offense, Miguel Tejada, who didn’t appear in the big leagues in 2012 after getting hurt while playing at Triple-A for the Orioles, slammed a 2-run home run, and Mets prospect Francisco Pena went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI. And then there was Rays prospect Omar Luna, who went 1 for 3 with a walk and run scored and has hit in 5 straight games since moving to the Aguilas’ leadoff spot, hitting .333 (8 for 24) over that stretch. Great to see a former Ray continuing to pitch well as he makes a big league attempt and to see Luna staying hot.