Results from Arizona Fall League game played Saturday, November 14th.
Moving one step closer to the West Division championship, Surprise (16-10-1) came back to win in the 10th after giving up a four-run ninth-inning lead at Salt River (14-12) on Saturday night. The AFL Military Appreciation Game was televised nationally on MLB Network.
As the contest ended, lefty Dean Kiekhefer was on the mound. The Saguaros’ lefty picked up his second save of the AFL campaign after allowing a soft single to right in his lone inning of work.
There was a lot of excitement getting to that point.
It was a 1-1 game heading into the top of the fifth. Aledmys Diaz had doubled and scored the first run in the top of the first on an error. Salt River evened the score in the second on a couple of shaky defensive plays by third baseman Patrick Wisdom (throwing error) and Diaz.
Surprise added an insurance run in the sixth to increase their lead to four as Wisdom and Michael Ohlman doubled.
The score remained there until the fateful bottom of the ninth. Asked to get the final three outs, reliever Damien Magnifico (MIL) wasn’t. Seven batters later, with just one out, two runs in and the bases loaded, Magnifico was pulled for Cardinal Robby Rowland.
Rowland was given a gift on his first play, a sharp single to right. The baserunner on third waited in case he had to tag. When the ball was not caught, he couldn’t run home in time to beat the throw from Bubba Starling (KC).
All Rowland needed was one more out. Instead, he allowed a two-run single to center which tied the game. Both of the remaining runners moved into scoring position after Rowland uncorked a very wild pitch that went far over the batter’s head. A ground out ended the rough inning before a walk off loss could occur.
That oddness was trumped in the 10th. Jurickson Profar (TEX) hit a sharp liner to right and kept sprinting around first for a double. However, Salt River questioned whether Profar had touched the inside of the first base bag on his tight turn.
Just after pinch-runner Dustin Fowler (NYY) entered, but before the first pitch to the next batter, Salt River pitcher Carlos Estevez (COL) was directed to toss the ball over to first to make the appeal. Estevez instead fired a high and hard one over the first baseman’s head. The ball went out of bounds into the camera bay, giving the runner two bases. In other words, on the error, Surprise scored the lead run, which Kiekhefer was eventually able to protect.
In the uniqueness of baseball scoring rules, Rowland took both the blown save and the win to go with Kiekhefer’s save. Appropriately, Estevez was the losing pitcher.
Center fielder Tilson led off for the Saguaros, going 0-for-4 with a sacrifice and a run scored, lowering his AFL average to .213. Batting sixth, Wisdom went 1-for-4, a double, scored a run and fanned twice. That raised his batting average to .240. Ohlman, hitting eighth, started at first base before Wisdom moved over from third to replace him in the ninth. Ohlman (.226) fanned three times in four at-bats, but that RBI double was important in the final outcome.
Batting second, Diaz was the offensive star of the day. The shortstop went 2-for-5 with a double and three-run homer. He scored twice and raised his AFL batting average to .305.
Monday’s game: The league takes Sundays off. Monday’s game will be at Scottsdale (14-11), 12:35 pm MST, LHP Ian Clarkin (NYY) (2-1, 5.75) starting.
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