West Plays Longball and Pounds the East in the AFL Fall Stars Game – West 9, East 2

Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game

WP – Alex Meyer (1-0) LP – Kyle Crick (0-1) Save – None

The West squad abused the East pitching and rode five long home runs to a 9-2 victory. Rangers’ first base prospect Brett Nicholas launched two home runs over the wall in right and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. The Mariners’ Stefan Romero also hit a pair of dingers. Romero hit a two-run homer in the sixth off of Mike Montgomery then added a solo shot off Corey Knebel in the eighth. Red Sox’s prospect Garin Cecchini added a solo homer in the eighth. The five longballs accounted for six of the West squad’s nine runs.

The East squad managed only nine hits and did not score their first run until the seventh inning when Mason Williams singled in Adrian Nieto. Kris Bryant scored the East’s second run after he led off the eighth with a broken bat bloop single and circled the bases on a triple by Devon Travis.

Kris Bryant went 1-for-4 with a run scored at the plate. In the field, Bryant had a rough night after a making a dazzling play in the second inning. Bryant made a diving stop and a strong throw to first to take a hit away from Austin Hedges. But in the third he allowed a routine grounder off the bat of Byron Buxton to roll under his glove and between his legs into left field. Bryant’s first error of the game led to the West taking an early 2-0 lead. Bryant’s second error came in the eighth after he fielded a high chopper but threw low and wide of C.J. Cron at first base.

Jorge Soler (1-for-1 with a walk) reached base in both of his at bats before Albert Almora replaced him in right field in the bottom of the sixth. A much bigger Soler walked on four pitches in the second inning and scorched a single off of first baseman Brett Nicholas’ glove in the fifth.

Albert Almora (0-for-2) flied out to right in both of his plate appearances.

Twins’ pitching prospect Alex Meyer faced the minimum in the first inning. After striking out James Ramsey swinging on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt, Brian Goodwin ripped a 1-0 pitch into right. With Kris Bryant at the plate, Padres’ catching prospect threw out Goodwin trying to swipe second. Hedges not only showed off his strong arm but excellent footwork as well. Bryant worked a full count before striking out swinging to end the inning.

Aaron Sanchez worked his way out of a first and third, two-out jam in the first inning and kept the game scoreless. Sanchez retired Delino DeShields and Tyler Naquin before issuing a two-out walk to Byron Buxton. Colin Moran followed with a single to left center. Buxton advanced to third with ease but was stranded when Jorge Bonifacio lined out to Jorge Soler in right to end the inning.

The East squad could not cash in a two-out triple by Stephen Piscotty in the second. Meyer retired C.J. Cron on a deep fly to right and Taylor Lindsey rapped out to short on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Piscotty drove the first pitch to deep left. Delino DeShields misplayed the high, deep drive into a triple. The ball should have been caught. Jorge Soler was next up and walked on four pitches. With runners on the corners, Peter O’Brien rolled a 1-2 pitch out to short for the third out.

Aaron Sanchez completed his second inning of work and kept the West squad off the board. Corey Seager flied out to center for the first out. Austin Hedges pulled a grounder down the third baseline. Kris Bryant made an excellent diving stop and threw a strike to first for the second out. Brett Nicholas followed with a single to right. Sanchez retired Mookie Betts on a routine fly to left to end the inning.

There was no score after two innings.

Alex Meyer faced the minimum in the third. Addison Russell grounded out to second. James Ramsey reached on a bunt single up the third baseline but was erased by Austin Hedges. Meyer struck out Brian Goodwin swinging on a 3-2 pitch and Hedges completed the strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play to end the inning.

Kyle Crick replaced Aaron Sanchez to start the third inning and the West used an error by Kris Bryant to put runs on the board. DeShields flied out to center for the first out. Tyler Naquin followed with a triple to left. Byron Buxton pulled a 2-2 pitch right to Bryant at third. The ball rolled right under his legs and into left field. Naquin scored, 1-0 West. Buxton stole second with Moran at the plate. Crick then walked Colin Moran to put runners on first and second with one out. Jorge Bonifacio pulled a grounder past a diving Bryant. Addison Russell stopped the ball from leaving the infield and the West squad loaded the bags with one out.

Corey Seager dribbled a 3-2 pitch toward second. Taylor Lindsey fielded the ball and flipped to Russell for the second out. But Seager beat Russell’s throw to first, Buxton scored and the West went up 2-0. With runners on the corners and two down, Austin Hedges grounded out to Russell at short to end the inning.

After three innings, the West squad had a 2-0 lead.

Orioles’ prospect Eduardo Rodriguez started the fourth for the West and retired Kris Bryant on a pop up to shallow right (3-2 pitch) for the first out. C.J. Cron grounded out to short. Taylor Lindsey worked a two-out walk but Stephen Piscotty grounded the first pitch he saw toward third to end the inning.

Cam Bedrosian took over in the fourth for the East squad and really struggled with his command. Brett Nicholas greeted Bedrosian with a solo homer to right and made it 3-0 in favor of the West squad. Mookie Betts walked then took second on the first of two wild pitches. DeShields bunted him to third. A 1-0 pitch to Naquin sailed past O’Brien and Betts trotted in with the game’s fourth run. Bedrosian struck out Naquin and Buxton flied out to Jorge Soler in right to end the inning.

The West squad took a 4-0 lead into the fifth inning.

Phillies’ hard-throwing prospect, Ken Giles, replaced Rodriguez for the fifth. Jorge Soler smoked Giles’ first pitch toward first and off of Nicholas’ glove into shallow right. Giles struck out O’Brien and Russell before issuing a two-out walk to James Ramsey. Brian Goodwin popped out to short to end the inning.

Blue Jays’ prospect Marcus Stroman took over for the East in the bottom of the fifth. Colin Moran singled to right to start the inning and Bonifacio walked on four pitches. Stroman struck out Seager and Hedges swinging. With two on and two down, Nicholas lined out to Soler in right to end the inning.

Keyvius Sampson of the Padres took the hill in the sixth for the West squad up 4-0. Kris Bryant lined out to right on Sampson’s first pitch to start the inning. C.J. Cron singled to center. Devon Travis popped out to second and Kyle Parker struck out swinging for the third out.

Mike Montgomery had very little command in the bottom of the sixth and the West squad tacked onto their lead. Montgomery gave up an infield single to Eddie Rosario then a long, opposite field homer to right to Stefan Romero that gave the West a 6-0 lead. Tyler Naquin walked and Byron Buxton singled to center. With runners on first and second with no outs, Garin Cecchini struck out swinging and Yorman Rodriguez rolled into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Albert Almora, who replaced Soler in right in the bottom of the sixth, led off the seventh against White Sox’s prospect Chris Bassitt. Almora flied out to right (1-0 pitch) for the first out. Adrian Nieto was hit by a pitch. Alen Hanson tapped back to Bassitt for the second out, Nieto advanced to second and scored on a single to right by Mason Williams. Yorman Rodriguez airmailed his throw to the plate or Nieto would have been thrown out. Williams advanced to second as the East squad cut into the West’s lead … 6-1. Brian Goodwin flied out to center to end the inning.

Mets’ prospect Jeurys Familia started the bottom of the seventh for the East and retired Marcus Semien on a swinging bunt just to the third base side of the mound. Jorge Alfaro chopped out to short and Brett Nicholas made it a 7-1 game with his second longball of the night, a solo shot over the wall in right. Rosario grounded out to first to end the inning.

Dodgers’ Yimi Garcia started the eighth with the West squad up 7-1. Kris Bryant broke his bat but blooped a single into right center. C.J. Cron lined out to center for the first out. Devon Travis lifted a 1-2 pitch to deep center. Buxton could not catch up to the ball as it hit the base of the wall and rolled back toward the infield. Bryant scored all the way from first and Travis ended up a third with a RBI triple. Kyle Parker popped out to Nicholas in foul ground for the second out. Albert Almora lifted the first pitch he saw into right field to end the inning.

The Fall Stars Game went to the bottom of the eighth with the West up 7-2.

Stefen Romero greeted Corey Knebel with his second opposite field home run of the night. Almora watched another long home run sail over the wall in right and the West took an 8-2 lead. Knebel retired Naquin on a grounder to first and struck out Byron Buxton swinging.

Jake Barrett then took over for Knebel and served up the fifth homer of the night to Garin Cecchini. The Red Sox’s prospect pulled a long homer over the wall in right center that put the West up 9-2. Yorman Rodriguez chopped a ball toward third that Bryant fielded cleanly but he threw low and to the right field side of the bag. Rodriguez ended up at second on Bryant’s second error of the game. Marcus Semien struck out swinging to end the inning.

David Goforth started the top of the ninth with the West up 9-2 and made quick work of Nieto (tap back to the mound) and Alen Hansen (grounder to second). Jonas Dufrek replaced Goforth with two down. Mason Williams lined a 1-0 pitch to deep right. The ball hit off of Rodriguez’s glove and Williams ended up at second with what was ruled a double. Brian Goodwin popped out to shallow left to end the game.

The MLB Network will televise Tuesday’s game between the Mesa Solar Sox and the Salt River Rafters. First pitch is scheduled for 8:08pm CST.

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