AZL Indians come up short again, fall 8-5 to AZL Angels
Walks come back to haunt the AZL Tribe
TEMPE – The AZL Indians dropped their fifth straight game Friday night in a 8-5 loss to the AZL Angels. The AZL Angels, who own the second best record in the Arizona Rookie League, proved to be too strong and took advantage of eight walks issued by the AZL Indians, turning them into four of their eight runs on the evening.
The AZL Angels got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning off of AZL Indians starter Casey Shane. Shane allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base on two singles and a walk, which scored one run. Then, with runners at second and third, a second run came around to score when AZL Angel Natanael Delgado attempted to steal second base.
AZL Indians catcher Francisco Mejia tried to throw out Delgado, but was a tad late and Erick Salcedo was able to swipe home on the throw to second. Shane settled down a bit after this and retired the next three batters he faced to limit the early damage.
In what was presumably a planned short outing, Shane was lifted after only two innings of work. He finished with two runs (both earned) allowed on two hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
The AZL Indians came back with two runs of their own in the top of the third inning. The inning started off with a sharp Yonathan Mendoza single to left field followed by a Joel Mejia walk two batters later. With Mejia and Mendoza at first and second, respectively, Ordomar Valdez grounded into a tailor made inning ending double play ball to AZL Angel second baseman, Jon Pellant. However, Pellant made an errant entry throw that sailed wide of the shortstop covering second base. This allowed Mendoza to score and Mejia to move up to third base. Valdez was unfortunately thrown out trying to advance to second on the error for the second out in the inning. Clint Frazier then stepped to the plate and picked up his teammate by cracking a double to deep center field, scoring Mejia from third and tying the game at 2-2.
The AZL Indians brought on reliever Luis Gomez, who came on strong and impressively struck out six of the first seven batters he faced. The only batter to reach during that stretch was promptly thrown out trying to steal second base.
Gomez ran into some trouble in the bottom of the fifth inning, however. After striking out the lead off hitter, Gomez gave up a single to Alex Albritton and a walk to Pellant. The AZL Angels stayed aggressive on the base paths and executed a perfect double steal, advancing Pellant and Albritton to second and third base, respectively. Quinten Davis then legged out a slow rolling grounder to third for an infield single, scoring Albritton and moving Pellant to third. Gomez managed to strike out the next hitter, but proceed to walk Delgado to load the bases.
The AZL Indians turned to reliever Anderson Polanco to try to get out of the jam, but the move was unsuccessful, as Polanco gave up a two RBI single to Taylor Johnson before retiring the side.
The AZL Angels scratched out another run in the bottom of the sixth to extend their lead to 6-2.
The Tribe responded with two runs in the top of the seventh. After singles by D’vone McClure and Mendoza, AZL Angel reliever Hunter Green threw a pickoff attempt to second base into center field. This allowed McClure and Mendoza to each advance one base. However, the AZL Angel center fielder sent another wild throw back into the infield and ended up in the AZL Indians’ dugout. Both McClure and Mendoza were able to score on the error after the umpires held a brief meeting and decided to award Mendoza home plate, since he was in the process of advancing to third when he saw the throw was headed astray. This cut the AZL Indians’ deficit to only 6-4, but this was as close as they would get.
The AZL Angels would not be denied and immediately stretched their lead to 8-4 on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, as they again capitalized on walks and sloppy play by the Tribe.
The AZL Indians were able to score only one more run in the top of the eighth on a single by Victor Cabral and an RBI double by Francisco Mejia. Tribe bats were quiet most of the night. They only managed eight hits and three of the five runs they scored came as a result of AZL Angel errors. McClure and Mendoza led the way offensively with two hits apiece and three runs scored.
Much like the offense, AZL Indian pitching was far from stellar. Each of the four Tribe pitchers were charged with runs and while they managed to strike out 12 AZL Angels, they also issued eight walks, four of whom came around to score. Gomez was the lone bright spot on the pitching staff, as he struck out seven in only 2.2 innings.
The AZL Indians have faced some strong competition in the midst of their five game skid, but the Tribe will try to rite the ship against these same AZL Angels Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Goodyear.