Mets prospect Reynolds breaks AFL tie with HR in extras

Shortstop, ranked 20th in organization, goes yard in 10th to lift Scottsdale

Mets prospect Reynolds breaks AFL tie with HR in extras

With one on and two outs in the top of the 10th inning Saturday, Matt Reynolds came to the plate to face right-hander Ben Klimesh. Scottsdale and Surprise had been deadlocked at five since the seventh inning and it looked like they would remain that way going to the bottom of the 10th, as Klimesh started Reynolds off with two strikes.

Klimesh's next pitch caught too much of the plate, however, and Reynolds turned on it, driving it over the left-field wall for a two-run home run. Scottsdale held on in the bottom of the inning and defeated Surprise, 7-6. The loss snapped the Saguaros' three-game winning streak.

Reynolds, the Mets' No. 20 prospect, finished the game 3-for-5 with a double and two runs to go with his homer. After starting the Arizona Fall League 0-for-7, the 23-year old shortstop said he has started to feel better.

"I'm still trying to get comfortable again at the plate," he said. "I felt bad the first two or three games. But I think I'm starting to turn the corner."

During the regular season, Reynolds hit .343/.405/.454 with six home runs and 20 stolen bases in 126 games between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas. But Las Vegas' season ended Sept. 6 with a loss to Reno in the Pacific Coast League playoffs, meaning Reynolds hadn't played in a month before the AFL opened Tuesday.

Reynolds said he took batting practice and hit off a tee during the break, but that didn't compare to the level of competition he has faced in the AFL.

"It's extremely difficult, especially after going six months seeing live pitching almost every day," Reynolds said.

Reynolds shook off the rust early Saturday, as he singled in his first plate appearance and scored when Kyle Higashioka followed with a homer to give the Scorpions a 3-0 lead in the second. But, as was the case throughout the game, the Saguaros quickly answered, scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning.

After seesawing in the middle innings, the Scorpions pulled ahead again in the seventh when, with two outs, Roman Quinn walked and Brandon Nimmo followed with an RBI double. But the lead was short-lived as the Saguaros produced some two-out offense of their own in the bottom of the inning. Juan Perez and Trea Turner hit back-to-back two-out singles to score Hunter Renfroe and tie the game at five.

Even after Reynolds' 10th-inning homer, the Saguaros responded in the bottom of the inning. Rusney Castillo hit a one-out single and Nick Williams followed with a drive to center field to drive him in. But Quinn and Reynolds combined to throw Williams out at third base and right-hander Nefi Ogando got Renfroe to fly out to right field to end the game.

Reynolds said throwing Williams out was a big momentum swing, just as Surprise was mounting another rally.

"Quinn did a great job getting the ball off the wall and he got it in quick to me," Reynolds said. "[Third baseman] Dante Bichette [Jr.] put a great tag on the guy."

Turner, the Padres' No. 5 prospect, finished the game 3-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base and two RBIs. Patrick Kivlehan, the Mariners' No. 6 prospect, went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs.

The Saguaros offense had been the league's best in the first week of the season, but the Scorpions produced just enough big plays to grab the victory. Their offense was boosted by Higashioka, who finished the game 3-for-5 with two runs and a stolen base. Quinn, the Phillies' No. 5 prospect, added two runs and three stolen bases.

After spending much of the first week of the AFL season getting back into form at the plate, Reynolds said he now hopes to be able to work on his overall game this fall.

"There's not one aspect that I don't want to work on," Reynolds said. "Once you get complacent in this game is when you start failing."

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.