On Wednesday night in the Arizona Fall League, the Scottsdale Scorpions picked up their third straight win. The 7-4 victory over Surprise came on a night that Phil Irwin started for Scottsdale and two Pittsburgh Pirates players were in the starting lineup. Prior to this current mini winning streak, the Scorpions lost eight in a row.
Alen Hanson led off for Scottsdale in the bottom of the first and lined a single into right field. He stole second base with two outs, then scored the first run of the game on a single up the middle. Hanson got up in the second inning with two men on and one out. He hit a soft grounder to shortstop which resulted in an out at second base. Hanson then stole second base, his second steal of the game and sixth of the season. He scored his second run of the game one batter later on a triple.
In the third inning, Hanson batted for a third time and drove in Scottsdale’s seventh run on a line drive single up the middle. In the fifth inning, Hanson was robbed of a likely triple by a great running catch in the left-center gap. It came with one out and two men on base and ended up as a double play when the runner on second was called out. In the eighth inning, Hanson picked up his third hit with a liner into right field.
Alex Dickerson hit a soft liner to center field in his first AB after returning from injury. He had missed a week of action with back soreness. In his second at bat, Dickerson went down swinging to end the second inning. He grounded out softly to first base his third time up. In the sixth inning, he flew out to right field on the first pitch.
Phil Irwin was the starting pitcher for Scottsdale on Wednesday night. He came into the game 0-2, 8.68 in three starts. He walked the lead-off hitter on five pitches. The batter stole second, then moved to third on a hard single up the middle. What happened next was a first in AFL and MLB history. The runner from first, stole second base, but he was initially called out. They went to instant replay, which is being used as an experiment in the AFL to see how it works. The call was overturned and the runner was safe, putting two runners in scoring position with no outs. Irwin picked up the first out on a strikeout, then picked up his second strikeout against the next hitter on a 3-2 pitch that hit the outside corner.
With two outs, Irwin got a grounder to third base that was bobbled at first, resulting in a close play at first base. The runner was called safe, but instant replay was used again and the play was overturned. So Irwin was hurt by the new replay system at first, but then got help from it two batters later. He threw a total of 28 pitches, 15 went for strikes.
In the second inning, Irwin got a ground ball to second base for the first out. The next batter hit a long double to the left-center gap. Irwin walked the third hitter, putting two men on with one out. After a stolen base made it first and third, Irwin got a double play on a grounder to Alen Hanson to get out of the inning. He threw 19 pitches, ten for strikes.
Irwin came back out for the third inning with a 6-0 lead. He got a long fly out to center field from the first batter on a 3-2 count. The second hitter lined a single into right field. That was the end of the night for Irwin, who reached his pitch count limit. In 2.1 innings, he allowed one run on three hits and two walks, striking out two batters.
Matt Benedict came in to relieve Irwin, inheriting a runner on first with one out. On the third pitch Benedict threw, he gave up a long home run to right field. The next hitter grounded out to second base on the first pitch, then Benedict struck out the third hitter to end the inning.
Benedict came out for the fourth and got a quick ground out to first base for the first out. The next batter hit a hard one-hopper to Alen Hanson, who made a nice play on it for the second out. The third hitter grounded out softly to Hanson, who bounced the easy throw to first base for the final out. Benedict needed just five pitches to get through the inning. Facing six batters, he threw 13 pitches, nine for strikes.
Zack Thornton came on to finish the game, entering with a three run lead. The first batter grounded slowly to Alen Hanson for the first out. The next batter hit a lazy fly ball to center field for the second out. Thornton finished off the game with a grounder up the middle that Hanson made a nice play on.
** Thursday’s Scottsdale game will also be shown on the MLB Network at 9 PM EST.