Surprise out hit Phoenix eight to five but could not outscore them as they fell 3-1 on the road.
Facing the Desert Dogs for the first time, starter Boone Whiting was one of five Saguaros pitchers that limited the Arizona Fall League's second-best offense to five hits. Whiting yielded three safeties plush a base-on-balls over four innings. The only mark against him was a solo shot by shortstop Nick Ahmed (Atlanta) to lead off the game. The righty worked out of a mini-mess when he promptly gave up a single by Tampa Bay's Tim Beckham then watched the runner end up on third due to a steal that came with two out and throwing error by catcher Cody Stanley. (Brian Walton note: Stanley's throw was very high and to the first base side of the bag.)
Whiting then settled in, retiring the next six batters before issuing his only free pass - to Beckham. Three more Desert Dogs went down before Yordy Cabrera (Miami) singled. Whiting retired his final batter on one of his six groundouts. He struck out four, three called and one swinging, with one fly out and threw a total of 68 pitches, 43 for strikes. (BW: Whiting was working his fastball between 88 and 90 MPH, with a nasty 75 MPH changeup that one batter took looking.)
(BW: In the third, Whiting made an outstanding defensive play. A hard shot clanked off the first baseman's glove. Whiting, moving over to cover first, dove to the ground to scoop up the ball and tag the leaping runner just before he reached first base. It was much more than a simple 3-1 putout.)
Whiting turned over to the bullpen a tied contest thanks to Stanley, who began the fourth with a home run over the right center field wall. (BW: It was a line drive that clanged off the advertising sign just over the wall and ricocheted partway back in toward the infield. The home run came against Atlanta pitcher Cory Rasmus. The younger brother of Colby took a blown save.)
The number five hitter struck out swinging in his first at bat then drew a one-out walk in his third at bat that came in the sixth. Stanley swiped his first bag as a Saguaro but was left there. Stanley came up in the eighth with Colin Walsh at second and two out but ground out to first for the final out of the frame. Overall, the catcher went 1-for-3 with a home run, a walk and a strikeout.
Walsh was on second in the eighth because of a line drive double to left that was his only hit in four at bats. The right fielder popped out to second to end the first then missed his big opportunity in the third when he came up with the bases loaded and one out. Walsh missed his chance when he looked at strike three. He struck out again in the fifth, that time on a foul tip. Walsh finished 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts. Defensively, he threw out a runner at second base. (BW: Walsh is back on the taxi squad, eligible to play Wednesdays and Saturdays only.)
One of the runners stranded by Walsh in the third was fellow St. Louis farmhand Mike O'Neill. O'Neill, who hit in the nine hole, had a 1-for-3 day with a strikeout. His only hit was a one-out single in the third that made him the lead runner in the inning. He advanced to second on a single then trotted to third on a walk which is where Walsh entered the picture. He tried for a bunt single to begin the fifth but ended up grounding out 1-3. The left fielder struck out swinging in his final at bat.
Saturday's game: AFL Rising Stars Game, 8:10 pm ET, MLB Network. Kolten Wong is on the West team roster.
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