The Arizona Fall League season began Tuesday night with Jameson Taillon getting the Opening Day nod for the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Pittsburgh Pirates have sent seven players to the league and the three top prospects among that group were in the starting lineup. Another two Pirates players would get into the game before the night was done.
Jameson Taillon gave up a lead-off single, followed by a stolen base on the next pitch. He quickly settled down and got a ground out, strikeout and another ground out to end the inning with no damage. In that first inning, he threw 16 pitches, 12 for strikes.
Taillon came out for the second inning with a 1-0 lead to work with. He walked the first batter, who stole second base, then Taillon recorded two straight strikeouts. On the second strikeout, he gave up his third stolen base and the runner ended up scoring on a throwing error by the catcher. Taillon finished the inning and his night with a first pitch grounder to second base. He threw a total of 35 pitches on the night, 23 for strikes. He allowed one hit, one unearned run, one walk and struck out three batters.
Alen Hanson started at shortstop and batted second in the lineup. He struck out in both his first and second at-bats. In his third time up, Hanson had a bunt single, but he was thrown out attempting to steal. Leading off the seventh, he reached base for the second time, drawing a walk. Hanson came up in the ninth with no outs, a man on first base and his team down 5-4. After a balk moved the runner up, Hanson put a bunt down to get the runner to third, but ended up reaching on a single and the runner from second scored on a throwing error to tie the game. Hanson would steal second base, then score the go-ahead run on a double from the next hitter.
On defense, Hanson made a throwing error on a double play in the fifth inning. He handled all three grounders hit his way cleanly.
Alex Dickerson was in the DH spot, batting fifth. Like Hanson, Dickerson also struck out in his first time up. He would draw a walk in his second plate appearance. Dickerson struck out looking in the sixth inning. In the seventh, with two outs and Hanson on first base, Dickerson grounded out to end the inning. He worked the count all night, seeing a total of 28 pitches in his five PA’s, but Dickerson still ended up with three strikeouts after going down swinging in the ninth inning.
Zack Thornton came in to pitch the sixth inning for Scottsdale. He struck out the first two batters he faced, then got a grounder to third base to retire the side in order.
Matt Benedict became the third Pirates pitcher to take the mound when he came in for the seventh inning. He retired the first two batters on just three pitches, getting a line out and a grounder. Benedict needed six pitches to retire the last batter, ending the inning with another groundball.
Scottsdale won the game over Salt River by a 6-5 score.