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Frazier, Santana lead AZL Indians to 4-1 win over AZL Dodgers

Early advantage enough to take down division leading Dodgers

Frazier, Santana lead AZL Indians to 4-1 win over AZL Dodgers
July 30, 2013
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GOODYEAR – After a somewhat sloppy defeat Sunday, the AZL Indians rebounded nicely Monday afternoon, taking their rematch against the AZL Dodgers, 4-1.  Clint Frazier and Juan Santana each played a key role in the victory, as Frazier homered and Santana tossed a gem for six innings.

Josh Tomlin got the spot start for the Tribe in another rehab outing, going one inning and setting the side down in order.

The AZL Indians took this strong start and ran with it, wasting no time in taking the lead in the bottom of the first inning.  Frazier led off the inning with a monster blast to straight away center field for his third home run on the year.  D’vone McClure followed this up with a hard double down the third base line and promptly came around to score on a sharp single to right field by first baseman Grant Fink.  This would give the AZL Indians the early 2-0 lead.

The AZL Indians managed to continue their hot start and add to their lead in the second.  After a walk and stolen base by Yonathan Mendoza, Frazier stepped to the plate again and shot a hard grounder right back up the middle, which allowed Mendoza to score easily from second.  McClure then matched Frazier’s single with a single of his own, which set up the Tribe with runners at first and second and only one out.

Clearly rattled, the AZL Dodgers’ starter, Jose De Leon, lost focus a bit and walked the next two hitters to bring Frazier in for a fourth Tribe run.  Unfortunately, the AZL Indians would not be able to push across any more runs, but the 4-0 lead they built after two innings ended up proving to be more than enough and the Tribe would never look back.

A big reason why the AZL Indians only needed four runs on the day was the performance by Santana.  Santana, who was the scheduled starter if not for Tomlin’s rehab work, was brilliant as soon as he took the mound in the second inning.  He kept the AZL Dodgers off balance and continually forced them to beat his pitches harmlessly into the ground, illustrated by his 10:2 groundball to fly ball ratio on the day.

In the end, Santana would throw six scoreless innings, scattering only four hits, while striking out four and walking no one.  He likely could have continued his dominance an inning or two more, since he was never in any real danger, but pitchers at this level are kept to a strict six inning or 85-pitch limit.  In any case, it was great to see Santana really bring it and put together his best outing of the year.

The only trouble the AZL Indians ran into came in the ninth inning off of reliever Casey Shane, who was entering his second inning of work.  Shane allowed three of the first four hitters to reach in the inning to load the bases.  However, he impressively buckled down and limited the damage to only one run to seal victory for the Tribe.

In total, the three AZL Indian pitchers used were phenomenal, as they yielded only seven hits.  They also walked only one batter, giving the AZL Dodgers a measly eight base runners on the afternoon.  This was arguably the best statistic to see out of Tribe pitchers, since walks have been an Achilles’ heel thus far this year.

The Tribe bats were impressive in the early going, scoring all four of their runs off of the starter, De Leon.  Frazier and McClure were the two catalysts in the early rallies.  Frazier finished up going 2-4 with a home run, two runs scored, two RBIs and walk, while McClure went 2-5 with a double and a run scored.

However, the offense cooled off dramatically against the AZL Dodger relievers.  It would have been nice to see the AZL Indians continue to extend their lead as the game went on, but with Santana dealing on the mound, it’s hard to argue with the win.

The AZL Indians are off on Tuesday, but will be back in action on Wednesday, as they take on another AZL Central Division rival in the AZL Brewers at home in Goodyear at 7 p.m.

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