Three batters into his Arizona Fall League start on Wednesday night, it looked like Kyle Crick was on pace for another tough outing. Three innings later, the outcome was entirely different.
The Giants' top prospect struck out five and yielded a run on four hits as Scottsdale held on for a 2-1 victory over Surprise.
As he did in his AFL debut on Oct. 10, Crick got into early trouble. He gave up three straight singles in the top of the first as the Saguaros took a 1-0 lead. The 20-year-old right-hander retired three of the next four batters to limit the damage and was stronger in his final two frames, exiting after throwing 59 pitches.
"Fastball command was there tonight," Crick said. "Still working on the change, just working on throwing it for strikes and keeping it down in the zone. Mostly fastball and slider -- slider ahead in the count and try to put people away tonight."
MLB.com's No. 42 overall prospect took the loss in his first start for the Scorpions after giving up three runs in the opening inning. It was a little bit of deja vu for Crick on Wednesday.
"A little bit, but I try to stay away from thinking negatively on the mound," he said. "I would say just pounding the zone and getting ahead of hitters. It's easy to pitch when you're ahead rather then when you're behind. I tried to stay ahead when I got there."
Crick went 3-1 with 95 strikeouts and a 1.57 ERA that would have led the California League had an injured oblique muscle not limited him to 14 starts with Class A Advanced San Jose. Getting the change to extend his season in the desert is a positive, he said.
"Just trying to get some innings against good competition," Crick added. "[The] competition level is great here. Just getting on the mound and into the dugout as many times as I can."
Pirates prospect Tyler Waldron (1-0) followed with three hitless innings and notched his first AFL win.
"He's got good stuff," Crick said. "He just pounds the zone. He was getting ahead tonight and he had his curveball working. People really can't hit the pitch when it's down in the zone, and he had it working tonight."
Chasen Bradford (Mets) allowed a leadoff double to Michael Ohlman (Orioles) in the ninth but retired the next three batters to earn his first save.
Braves No. 14 prospect Tommy La Stella lifted the Scorpions into a 1-1 tie with an RBI groundout in the third and Aderlin Rodriguez (Mets) singled home Giants prospect Jarrett Parker with the go-ahead run in the sixth.
Garin Cecchini, the Red Sox's No. 7 prospect, reached base twice and singled home the Saguaros' lone run.
Orioles No. 2 prospect Eduardo Rodriguez started for Surprise and gave up a run on three hits over 2 2/3 innings.