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U.S. wins fourth straight Futures Game

Biddle records victory, Davidson MVP in prospect showcase
July 14, 2013

NEW YORK -- Jesse Biddle played the role of World beater Sunday, but he had to take care of a teammate to do it.

The Phillies' top prospect relieved Anthony Ranaudo with two men on and fellow Reading Fightin Phil Maikel Franco at the plate. Biddle struck out Philadelphia's No. 3 rated prospect, and after D-backs prospect and Futures Game MVP Matt Davidson knocked a go-ahead homer, Biddle earned the win as the United States topped the World team at Citi Field, 4-2, on Sunday.

Biddle needed just three pitches to retire the third baseman. The left-hander, who has been with Double-A Reading all season and has a 3.33 ERA in 18 starts, jumped ahead 0-2 with a curveball and a fastball. He then retired Franco on a curveball way out of the zone.

"I threw him a couple pretty good [curveballs]" Biddle said. "The second one, I had no intention of throwing it anywhere near the strike zone, so I didn't. He went after it luckily. I think if I did it again, he probably wouldn't."

Franco has played 19 games with Reading this year after a promotion from Class A Advanced Clearwater. The Azua, Dominican Republic native is hitting .392 with five homers, and he traveled to New York with Biddle. The pair had already made separate arrangements to return to the Fightin' Phils.

Before Biddle entered, the World team scratched a pair of runs across against Ranaudo, ranked sixth in Boston's farm system. Arismendy Alcantara, the Cubs' 20th ranked prospect, led off the fourth inning by driving a no-doubter three rows into the Pepsi Porch in right field to knot the score, 1-1.

Boston's No. 1 prospect Xander Bogaerts followed with a single to right, and Minnesota's top prospect Miguel Sano moved him over on a walk. The pair advanced to second and third on Baltimore's Henry Urrutia's groundout to first base, and Bogaerts ended up scoring on Jordan Lennerton's sacrifice fly to left.

Dodgers' No. 2 prospect Joc Pederson's rocket throw from left almost got Bogaerts at the plate. Pederson fielded the ball 15 or 20 yards into the outfield and pulled Padres catching prospect Austin Hedges slightly into foul territory with his throw. Bogaerts slid with his body to the left of the plate and reached back to tag the dish with his right hand, narrowly evading Hedges' tag attempt.

"I just tried to get rid of it quick and make a good throw," Pederson said. "I was a little bit off line . . . Hedges was saying [we almost got him]."

Bogaerts finished 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. The shortstop shimmied into a bouncing pile of teammates when he got back to the dugout.

"The Latin guys, that's something we always have, that bond," he said. "That's what we did. It would've been good if we won, but it's an exhibition game.

"I wanted one [hit] for my mom [Sandra Brown], and that's it. So when I got the first one, I was relaxed. The next one was for my uncle [Glenroy Brown], so end of the day, [that's good]."

Davidson, ranked second in Arizona's system, put the U.S. team ahead, 3-2, with a two-run homer off Oakland's No. 20 prospect Michael Ynoa in the bottom of the fourth. Ynoa allowed a line-drive single to the Angels' C.J. Cron a batter earlier, then hung a pitch over the plate that Davidson rocked well into the Party Deck in left-center field.

Cron, ranked third in Los Angeles' system, had two hits for the U.S. squad, and was greeted at first both times by his father, Chris Cron, who manages the Double-A Erie Seawolves and served as first-base coach for the U.S. squad. Cron said Sunday was probably the first time the pair had been on the same team since he was in sixth grade.

Cron's younger brother, Kevin Cron, is an infielder playing in the Cape Cod League this summer, and was also able to make it to New York for the game.

"[My dad] hasn't been able to see me play in a while," C.J. Cron said. "It was a cool experience."

The Mets had three players appear at Citi Field on Sunday. Top pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard (No. 3) and Rafael Montero (No. 8) started for the U.S. and World respectively, and each posted a scoreless inning. Outfield prospect Brandon Nimmo didn't start, but went 0-for-2 later on.

"I was just going out there, not trying to do too much," Syndergaard said of the experience. "I'm real happy with my outing."

Jake Seiner is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner.