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Rangers, Padres advance in Arizona
Late runs from both sides propel teams to league semifinals
08/30/2013 6:55 PM ET
Luis Mendez (shown with Hickory) went 2-for-4 for the AZL Rangers.
Luis Mendez (shown with Hickory) went 2-for-4 for the AZL Rangers. (Tracy Proffitt/Hickory Crawdads)

If you were to see Fernando Vivili's regular-season stats, you wouldn't think the 19-year-old catcher/first baseman would be the one to inflict a lot of damage in the Arizona League playoffs. A .180 average, a .245 OBP, 35 strikeouts, six walks in 110 plate appearances. Then again, he could always homer.

That's precisely what Vivili did Friday afternoon, slugging a three-run blast to provide all the offense the AZL Rangers would need in their 3-2 win over the Indians. With the first-round victory, the Rangers -- first half-winners of the circuit's West Division -- will face the Dodgers, who received a bye by virtue of having the second-best overall record in the league (34-22), in the semfinal round.

Vivili's blast came in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Rangers down, 1-0, after the Tribe plated a run on a Shane Rowland single in the top of fifth. Taylor Wrenn and Luis Mendez greeted new Indians reliever Martin Alcantara with a pair of singles before the Rangers first baseman and cleanup hitter went deep to left.

A native of Puerto Rico, the 6-foot-3 Vivili was tied for third in the Arizona League with six homers this season. He played 21 games in the Rookie-level circuit last season, putting up a .194/.304/.313 line there, and played 43 games in the Dominican Summer League back in 2011, but he had yet to homer in a Minor League game until this season.

Vivili, who also doubled to lead off the fourth inning, finished 2-for-4 for his fourth multi-hit game of 2013. Mendez, who started at shortstop and hit in the No. 3 hole, also went 2-for-4 with the run scored.

Easton Napiontek got the win after allowing one run on four hits and a walk in two innings of relief. Angel LeClerc walked one and struck out three in 2 1/3 hitless frames to earn the save.

Avili's homer off the Indians bullpen wasted a strong start by southpaw Sean Brady, who fanned four and gave up three hits and one walk over five innings. Indians No. 3 prospect Clint Frazier was 1-for-4 with a strikeout in the loss.

In other Arizona League playoff action:

Padres 4, Angels 1

After putting up eight straight zeros to start the game, the Padres burst open with four runs in the ninth -- all with two outs -- to stun the Angels in the AZL's other first-round matchup and move on to face the Giants in the semis.

Center fielder and No. 9 hitter Rod Boykin got the rally going with an RBI single to tie the game. Francy Cordero came around on a throwing error by Angels third baseman Ismael Dionicio in the next at-bat to put the Padres up one, and No.3 hitter Franmil Reyes punched home two insurances runs to conclude the afternoon's scoring.

Michael Clevinger -- the Angels' No. 19 prospect who is in Arizona to rehab from Tommy John surgery -- allowed three hits and struck out one in three innings as the Angels starter. It was the longest of his three AZL outings this season. All four runs were charged to reliever Ben Carlson, although only one of those tallies was considered earned. Box score »

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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