The pitching matchup of two of MLB.com's Top 100 prospects Wednesday night in the Arizona Fall League did not disappoint. Surprise left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, ranked No. 84, faced Scottsdale right-hander Kyle Crick, No. 42, at Scottsdale Stadium.
Though neither Rodriguez nor Crick was at his sharpest, the aces in training set the tone for a pitchers' duel and Scottsdale scratched out a 2-1 win. The victory snapped the Scorpions' five-game losing streak.
Scottsdale scored the decisive run in the sixth inning. With the score tied at 1, left fielder Jarrett Parker singled off right-hander Kevin Shackelford. After he advanced to second on a balk, designated hitter Aderlin Rodriguez drove him in with a two-out single.
"I was just trying to start something off," Parker said. "I got a good fastball to hit and got on base."
Three Scorpions relievers each threw a scoreless inning to make Parker's run stand up.
After losing their last five games since an Opening Day win, Parker said it was good to get a victory.
"The clubhouse gets a little down after you lose a good bit in a row," Parker said. "It's great to come out and get a tough win. It's great to have our pitchers come through, especially in the late innings."
With offense difficult to come by, Rodriguez was the only player in the game with multiple hits. He finished the night 2-for-4. The Saguaros were led by third baseman Garin Cecchini, who went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.
Cecchini's RBI single came in the first inning against Crick, the last of three straight singles the Giants' No. 1 prospect gave up to start the game. Crick also issued a two-out walk to load the bases in the first, but escaped the inning with just one run allowed. He settled in to strike out five batters in three innings.
Crick's start Wednesday was an improvement on his first AFL start, when he allowed four runs (three earned) in two innings. He said he pitched ahead in the count more against the Saguaros, which led to more success.
"It's easy to pitch when you're ahead than when you're behind," Crick said. "I tried to stay ahead when I got there."
At 20 years old, Crick is the third-youngest pitcher in the AFL. Parker said it would be understandable if his Giants teammate was unsettled at the start of the game.
"He's a young guy and he's got great stuff," Parker said. "Maybe he had a little nerves or something, but he bounced back great."
On the other side of the matchup, Rodriguez allowed one run on three hits in 2 2/3 innings. He walked three batters and struck out a pair.
Rodriguez is one of the two pitchers younger than Crick in the AFL. He also impressed Parker with his stuff.
"He's got a pretty good fastball and a tight little slider," Parker said. "He's a real quality pitcher."
But it was Crick and the rest of the Scorpions pitching staff who came out on top in the AFL's lowest-scoring game of the year.
Crick said he is enjoying the extension to the season after missing two months due to a strained oblique in the first half. He came back to pitch in the Futures Game and dominate the California League and wants to keep that going in Arizona.
"Just trying to get some innings against good competition," Crick said. "The competition level is great here. Just getting on the mound and into the dugout as many times as I can."