Peoria is finishing the Arizona Fall League campaign well out of the running, but the Javelinas are making some noise on the way out.
Padres prospect Cory Spangenberg tripled and singled and the Javelinas went deep three times to edge first-place Surprise, 7-6, on Wednesday afternoon. The win snapped a five-game losing streak for Peoria.
The Saguaros bore the brunt of Spangenberg's fifth multi-hit Fall League game, including his first three-bagger, a shot to right field to lead off the seventh inning. He later scored on a passed ball to give Peoria a 7-0 lead.
"I'm just starting to get comfortable at the plate," Spangenberg said. "I did a good job sticking with my approach -- swinging at good pitches and not swinging too hard when I do get a pitch to hit."
That run proved vital as Surprise stormed back with four runs in the bottom of the seventh. The Saguaros tacked on a run in the eighth and drew to within one on a solo shot by Derrik Gibson (Red Sox) in the ninth. Fellow Boston prospect Mookie Betts later singled and advanced to second on a passed ball, but his potential tying run was stranded there when Garin Cecchini grounded out to end the game.
Surprise starter Miguel Pena, also of the Red Sox, came into the game having won three consecutive outings. His AFL season wrapped up on a sour note after allowing six runs on eight hits over four innings. The left-hander, who walked one and struck out one, fell to 3-2 with the loss. Peoria managed just two hits and an unearned run against the five Saguaros relievers who pitched an inning apiece.
Three of the eight hits Pena surrendered left the yard: Stefen Romero (Mariners) led off the second inning with his second homer, Japhet Amador (Astros) delivered a two-run shot in the third and Orlando Calixte (Royals) capped the power surge with a three-run blast in the fourth.
Royals right-hander Jason Adam cruised to his second victory of the fall, allowing two hits and striking out three over four scoreless frames.
"He was throwing all three of his pitches for strikes," said Spangenberg. "He's had a good pace in his last couple starts -- as a defense that helps us out a lot."
Lefty Alex Sogard (Astros) took over for the Javelinas in the seventh but allowed all four batters he faced to reach base -- three walks and a three-run homer by Surprise catcher Michael Ohlman (Orioles) -- before being yanked. All four ultimately scored before Phillies prospect Kyle Simon could put out the fire.
Dominic Leone (Mariners) worked around Gibson's homer and Betts' single in the ninth to record his AFL-leading sixth save.
Betts singled three times for the Saguaros and has hits in each of his last five games.
Surprise has locked up a spot in Saturday's championship game and is tied with Mesa for the league's top record at 18-11-1.
Though the Javelinas reside in the East Division basement at 11-19, the experience gives Spangenberg a boost heading into the 2014 season.
"It's a good stepping stone for next year. Last year, I ended in a bad way with a concussion and not being able to come back from that. This year, I thought I did good job playing whole year. It was good to stay healthy and I'm right where I want to be."