Taylor fans seven across four scoreless frames

D-back's No. 25 prospect bounces back with strong outing to lead Salt River to victory

Taylor fans seven across four scoreless frames

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Josh Taylor didn't put up ideal numbers during the regular season, but on Wednesday night, his line was nearly perfect.

The D-backs' No. 25 prospect cruised through four scoreless frames as he led Salt River to a 4-2 win over Glendale at Camelback Ranch.

Taylor gave up just one hit and one walk, while retiring seven of the final eight batters he faced.


"I felt good," Taylor said. "I made an adjustment from my last start. I was able to get the pitches down in the zone when I needed to. Last game I was leaving my breaking stuff up and tonight I was able to execute it down in the zone."

The 23-year-old left-hander gave up four earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in his first Fall League start, but on Wednesday, he threw 36 of his 59 pitches for strikes, and the improved command led to much better results.

"[I had] command of my offspeed," Taylor said. "I was able to flip it in for a strike when I needed to, and I was able to put them away when I needed to."

Taylor is a coming off a 2016 campaign in which he struggled a bit. The 6-foot-2 lefty posted a 5.36 ERA in 26 games (24 starts), but despite those numbers, he feels like it was a good season and one that he can certainly build upon.

"Numbers wise, it wasn't what I expected," Taylor said. "But the D-backs had faith in me, moving me up. I feel like it was a successful season."

Taylor's strong start got Salt River off on the right foot, but he wasn't the only Arizona prospect contributing to the win.

Jamie Westbrook (D-backs' No. 21) and Dawel Lugo (D-backs' No. 11), hitting second and third in the lineup, combined to go 4-for-9 with two RBIs while Jared Miller and Joey Krehbiel struck out six and allowed just one hit in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

"My success and their success is equal to me," Taylor said. "Seeing them progress and seeing me progress, it's a great thing to see."

Lugo, who hit .311 with 62 RBIs in 127 games this season, put Salt River on the board with an RBI single in the third, and Westbrook, who hit .262 in 122 games with Double-A Mobile, did the same in the fifth.

The D-backs' contingent left their fingerprints all over the game, but it was Atlanta's Dylan Moore that won the game with a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh.

Top Prospects: Martes, HOU

Astros' top prospect Francis Martes opposed Taylor on the mound and was nearly as impressive.

Martes, like Taylor, struggled in his first AFL start, but he cleaned it up Wednesday. The No. 29 overall prospect threw 30 of his 45 pitches for strikes and gave up just one unearned run across three innings.

After Salt River took a 2-0 lead in the top of the 5th, the Desert Dogs fought back and tied the game in the bottom of the frame.

Andrew Stevenson (Nationals' No. 8) began the rally with a two-out double, and Ramon Laureano (Astros' No. 29) continued his hot streak with an RBI double of his own.

Laureano, recently named the AFL's Player of the Week, is hitting .409 and has hits in five of the six games he's played in.

After Laureano's hit opened the door, Drew Ward (Nationals' No. 10) came through with an RBI hit of his own.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.