Archie Bradley took the mound on Friday with the hopes of putting three ugly outings behind him. A few minutes into his start at Glendale, he found himself with the bases loaded.
"They timed me up pretty well and after the first inning I came in and my pitching coach told me to shorten up a little bit, change my hold, change my looks," said Bradley, who escaped trouble in the first and second. "Then Pete [O'Brien] did the rest. He gets all the credit there."
Bradley, Arizona's No. 1 prospect, pitched four scoreless innings and Rockies slugger Trevor Story knocked home four runs as Salt River crushed Glendale, 8-1, for its fifth straight win in the Arizona Fall League. The right-hander struck out two and escaped trouble, pitching around six baserunners before handing the ball off to his bullpen in his fourth fall start.
"I started out the game, I was sort of slow to the plate," said Bradley, who pitched to fellow D-backs prospect Peter O'Brien, a catcher acquired from the Yankees this past season in the Martin Prado deal. O'Brien, who hit 34 homers this past season, went 0-for-5 at the plate but was excited about Bradley's effort.
"He looked great," O'Brien said. "I've caught him a couple times now and that was the best that I've seen him. He looked like a power pitcher."
The 22-year-old hurler threw 35 of his 55 pitches for strikes and allowed five hits and a walk while lowering his ERA to 6.55. Fellow D-backs right-hander Jimmie Sherfy (1-0), Arizona's 10th-round pick in 2013 out of Oregon, pitched a perfect fifth to pick up his first win.
Bradley, a 6-foot-4 righty out of Oklahoma, had given up 13 runs over his first three starts in Arizona, taking the loss in two of them. His most recent outing on Oct. 18 was the worst of them -- he surrendered seven runs and walked four batters in just two innings at Mesa. Friday was an opportunity to turn things around.
"It was good. It's something that I've been working for, to have a start like that where things kind of rolled together and clicked for me," said Bradley, the 2013 Southern League Player of the Year.
He saw time in Major League camp with Arizona this past year but was limited to 18 outings in the Minors due to a strained elbow. He made his Triple-A debut at Reno, appearing in five games, but spent most of the 2014 season with Double-A Mobile. Overall, he went 3-7 with a 4.45 ERA in 83 frames.
"I've been searching for a start like that, working my tail off," he said. "For it to come together today is a good feeling."
Story, one of Colorado's first-round selections in 2011, finished 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles as Salt River (12-3) scored three in the seventh and four more in the eighth to pull away. The Rafters broke a scoreless tie in the sixth when Story drew a one-out walk and came home on a fielder's choice grounder before adding a two-run double an inning later. Story's second two-run double in the eighth capped an outburst after Brandon Drury (D-backs) scored on an error and Twins prospect Byron Buxton singled home a run.
Zach Davies (Orioles) matched Bradley through four innings, striking out five while allowing four hits in a no-decision. Fellow O's farmhand Mychal Givens (0-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing a run on two hits and a walk over 1 2/3 frames for the Desert Dogs (7-7). Dodgers outfielder Scott Schebler singled home Darnell Sweeney, also a Los Angeles prospect, in the eighth for Glendale's lone run.