With the bases loaded and the count in his favor Wednesday, first baseman Travis Shaw knew he was probably going to get a fastball. So, with two outs in the seventh inning and the Saguaros trailing by two runs, he got ready to be challenged.
Shaw got his 2-0 fastball from Rafters left-hander Henry Garcia and he didn't miss it, driving a grand slam to right field to give the Saguaros their first lead of the game. Surprise went on to defeat Salt River, 12-6, at Surprise Stadium. The loss snapped Salt River's five-game winning streak.
Garcia had come into the game two batters before Shaw came to the plate. He had already given up a single and a walk. After failing to get ahead of Shaw with a first-pitch curveball, Shaw was able to eliminate his offspeed pitches.
"He didn't really have any other choice but to throw a fastball in that situation," Shaw said. "I was sitting dead red."
Shaw finished the game 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. The Red Sox prospect is hitting .308 with four home runs in 10 games this fall. His .692 slugging percentage ranks second in the league, behind only Kris Bryant.
Shaw is coming off a disappointing season at Double-A Portland. He hit .221 with 16 home runs in 127 games. He said he is using the AFL to work on becoming more consistent.
"It was a little bit of a down year for me, so coming out here was a fresh start," Shaw said. "So far, it's been a pretty good Fall League and hopefully that'll continue the rest of the time here."
Shaw's grand slam was the final piece of the Saguaros comeback Wednesday. They were shut out for the first five innings by Rafters' starter Sam Gaviglio and fell into a 6-0 hole. But with Gaviglio out of the game, the Saguaros scored 12 runs over the next three innings to blow the game open.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin, the Indians' No. 5 prospect, went 2-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored and a walk. Third baseman Ryan Rua added a two-run home run.
The Saguaros have the league's highest-scoring offense and, as a result, Shaw said they never feel like they're out of a game.
"Our offense has been incredible this year," Shaw said. "It was the tale of two halves today. Their starter kept us off balance. But we feel like we're in every game no matter what the score is. Today just another example of how we never quit."
Salt River took an early lead on starter Will Lamb. The Rafters scored five runs against the left-hander, who lasted just 2 2/3 innings. Shortstop Cristhian Adames struck the big blow off Lamb with a two-run triple in the third inning.
Adames, the Rockies No. 15 prospect, finished 1-for-3 with a run and a walk. Left fielder Andy Burns went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs.
The game included players from both the Cardinals and the Red Sox and ended in time for them to find a TV before the start of Game 6 of the World Series.
Shaw has watched all of the World Series games and is enjoying watching some of his former Portland teammates, such as Xander Bogaerts and Brandon Workman, play pivotal roles. He said their success has reminded him he isn't far from the Major Leagues either.
"It shows how close you really are to achieving the ultimate goal," Shaw said. "I've played with those two for the last two years now. Now that they've made it up there, it's becoming more of a reality for me. Hopefully, in the next year or two, that'll be me on the TV."