Lamb leads the way on offense as Rafters top Saguaros
D-backs prospect knocks pair of hits and scores two runs in slugfest
After blowing a lead in the eighth inning Wednesday, Salt River staved off another late comeback attempt by Surprise on Thursday.
The Rafters scored six runs in the fifth inning and then held on for a 10-9 victory over the Saguaros in an Arizona Fall League game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Designated hitter Jake Lamb led the Rafters with two hits and two runs.
Lamb said it was important to bounce back and win a slugfest after Wednesday's tough loss.
"They can swing the bat really well and we were swinging the bat well today," he said. "Our pitching came up big right in the last few innings. We're kind of back and forth with wins and losses, so it's definitely a big win."
Lamb, the D-backs' No. 11 prospect, did his part. He scored in both of Salt River's big innings -- a three-run third and the six-run fifth. It was also his first multi-hit game of the Arizona Fall League.
Lamb raised his batting average to .270 and extended his hitting streak to nine games. He said he hasn't been completely satisfied with his performance so far this fall, but said he did a better job sticking to his game plan Thursday.
"My strength is working center to left-center," lefty-swinging Lamb said. "Early on, I've been bailing on that. I'm trying to pull too many balls to right field. I've got to stick with my strengths. That's kind of what I did today. I got jammed on a ball up middle and got another away and drove it to left center field.
"When I get good pitches, I've got to make sure I hit them."
Salt River's big fifth inning gave it the lead for good. Right-hander Branden Kline replaced starter Will Lamb for Surprise and began the inning with a 6-3 lead. But Kline struggled and retired just two hitters. The Rafters sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning and scored six runs (four earned) on five hits.
But as soon as Salt River had taken the lead, Surprise began to chip away. The Saguaros scored a run in each of the next three innings and had the go-ahead run on base in each of the final three innings.
Surprise had one final chance with two outs in the ninth inning. Left fielder Jason Rogers drew a walk and third baseman Garin Cecchini advanced him to third with a single. But designated hitter Henry Urrutia, who had launched a mammoth grand slam in the fifth inning, grounded out against right-hander Jake Barrett to end the game.
Urrutia finished the game 3-for-6 with a double and two runs to go along with the grand slam. Center fielder Tyler Naquin, the Indians' No. 5 prospect, went 2-for-6 with a double and a run to extend his league-leading hitting streak to 12 games.
Though Thursday was one of their best offensive days of the fall, Lamb said the Rafters hitters know, with so many good pitchers in the AFL, that kind of game can be a rarity.
"In this league, it's a constant battle," Lamb said. "You're going to square some balls up right at guys and you're going squeak some hits through. I've been battling up there though. That's what I've been doing since I got here. I had guys in scoring position all day, so everyone was swinging pretty well."