Surprise saw a 5-1 ninth-inning lead evaporate as they fell to Phoenix 6-5 at home.
Red Sox Pete Ruiz, the Saguaros' fifth pitcher of the game, took the loss when he yielded five runs, four earned, on five hits in just one'-third of an inning. The winning tally crossed on a groundout delivered by Ben Rowan (Texas) who recorded the last two outs.
Both were pitching in relief of starter Seth Blair who yielded just three hits and a base-on-balls in four. The only mark against him came in the third when Atlanta's Edward Salcedo opened with a double to deep left, a ball that almost left the field of play The third baseman stole third and came in on a passed ball.
Blair revoked the only free pass he issued when he picked the runner off first in that same frame. In fact, two of his three hits and the walk all came in the third. The right-hander had five ground outs, three fly outs and two strikeouts on 49 pitches, 32 for strikes. (Brian Walton note: Blair was working 92-93 on average and touched 95-96. At least as importantly, he seems to be throwing more strikes.)
Blair was joined in the Saguaros line-up by Kolten Wong, who went 2-for-5 with a strikeout, two stolen bases and three runs scored. The second baseman got on in the first when he ground into a force that wiped out lead-off batter Darrell Ceciliani (NYM) after the latter worked a base-on-balls. Wong swiped his fourth bag of the AFL campaign then raced home on a single to right by the Rangers' Chris McGuiness.
Wong's first hit of the day came during Surprise's two-run third on a sharp liner up the middle that was deflected by the Desert Dogs' pitcher after the latter had retired the first two batters. The Hilo, Hawaii native advanced to third on another deflected single and scored on another single by McGuiness.
The fifth saw Wong again bat with the sacks empty and two outs and this time he reached on via a line drive single to left. Wong was aggressive in this at-bat, smacking the first offering. He promptly stole second and advanced to third on the resulting throwing error. Bryce Brentz' (Boston) second long ball of the fall campaign brought across both Saguaros. Wong struck out swinging in the seventh on a foul tip held by the catcher on his third full-count offering and his 4-3 knuckler in the ninth was the final out of the contest.
Tuesday's game: at Mesa, 12:35 pm AZ time (1:35 pm CT), Kevin Siegrist (1-1, 3.00)
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