Surprise had the tying run aboard but could not get it across in the ninth as they fell 4-3 at home on Saturday night. With the loss, they failed to gain ground on first-place Peoria, which went down to defeat as well.
Seth Blair was charged with his first loss in the Arizona Fall League, failing to get out of the third. Control was a significant issue for the right-hander as he issued five free passes in just 2 2/3 innings. Three of those came around to score with a fourth stranded on base by the efforts of Blair's replacement.
The Illinois native started the game by walking the first batter. He then compounded the problem with a throwing error on an attempted pickoff, as the ball went far down the right field line. The results of which were a runner at third and no one out. Blair worked out of the mess by erasing the runner on a 6-2 fielder's choice at home that came after a ground out to first and before a 4-6 force at second. It was a painful out at home however, as catcher Cody Stanley was taken out by the runner, but held onto the ball.
A sac fly in the bottom of the frame put the Saguaros' briefly up 1-0 but that quickly evaporated in the second due to a combination of free passes, steals and timely hitting. Blair again walked the first batter, Pirate Adalberto Santos, before notching the first out on a fly ball to center. Santos stole second, then third while Blair issued his third base-on-balls to the seventh batter faced. A quick steal of second erased the double play possibility and both runners touched home on a single and two-out double.
A line out to center kicked off the third for Blair who proceeded to load the bases on two more walks and an infield single to third. He recorded another out via his second strikeout of the contest but evening ended after he tattooed the next Scorpion to force in a tally. Texas' Ben Rowen left the sacks jammed when he induced a 6-4 force that gave Blair a line of three runs, earned, on three hits and five walks in 2 2/3. He threw 70 pitches, 30 for strikes and hit a batter. He and Stanley allowed three stolen bases, with Blair perhaps not holding the runners closely enough.
Stanley and Colin Walsh both started for Surprise with Mike O'Neill making a brief appearance later in the game. Walsh led the Saguaros' offense, singling twice in three at bats with a base-on-balls, a run scored and one knocked in. His first single moved a runner from second to third, setting up his squad's first-inning tally. The number three hitter was one of three Saguaros to waste a lead-off double in the third then was involved in an unusual double play to end Surprise's half of the fourth. Walsh led off with a walk and had second base stolen, then moved to third as the throw was wild. However, Walsh was called out when the batter was charged with interfering with the catcher as he took a strike three pitch he believed to be ball four.
Surprise got much better results in the eighth when Walsh's single up the middle drove in the team's second run. The second baseman crossed home on a double that ended Surprise's scoring. Further production was squashed when Stanley made the second out with two on.
Stanley did not have a productive game, either at the plate or in the field. The catcher had one single in four at bats with two strikeouts and a groundout. He faced a situation of runners on second and third with an out in the eighth but struck out swinging. An errant pick off throw to third in the fourth inning allowed Scottsdale to score an unearned run that turned out to be the difference in the game.
O'Neill's sole appearance came as a pinch runner in the ninth. He took over on first after Surprise's designated hitter opened with a walk. O'Neill was subsequently forced at second on a very close play for the first out.
Monday's game: vs. Scottsdale, 12:35 pm AZ time (1:35 pm CT), starting pitcher TBA
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