Lamb helps Rafters snap losing streak

D-backs' No. 11 prospect goes 2-for-4 with two runs scored

Jake Lamb has scored 10 runs in 10 games for the Salt River Rafters. (Jason Wise/

By Robert Emrich / | October 24, 2013 4:56 PM ET

With a chance to make up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League, Jake Lamb isn't satisfied to have been on base in all 10 of his games. But Thursday's outing could be considered a step in the right direction.

The D-backs' No. 11 prospect singled twice and scored a pair of runs as Salt River bested Surprise, 10-9, on Thursday in the Arizona Fall League.

Lamb, who also drew a walk, scored on Andy Burns' sacrifice fly in the third inning and crossed the plate in the fifth on a wild pitch by Saguaros hurler Branden Kline.

"In this league, it's a constant battle," the 23-year-old third baseman said. "You're going to square some balls up right at guys and you're going squeak some hits through. I've been battling up there, though. That's what I've been doing since I got here. I had guys in scoring position all day, so everyone was swinging pretty well."

The Washington native extended his hitting streak to nine games. Despite batting .280 with eight walks, Lamb isn't happy with his performance thus far.

"Not as good as I want," he said. "I have the highest expectations out of everyone for myself. But I can't worry about past games, I've got to focus on the present and go at-bat by at-bat. I'd like to do better, but there are still a few weeks left. I want to do the best I can to improve."

Lamb missed a sizeable portion of the season due to injuries. When he did play he was solid, batting .302 with 13 homers and 52 RBIs while drawing 50 walks in 69 Minor League games, including 64 with Class A Advanced Visalia. His health problems are behind him, he said.

"I feel great physically, it's just a matter of getting in at-bats that I missed because I only played 65 or 70 games," the 2012 sixth-round pick said. "And I'm getting in at-bats against good pitching. It's a huge learning experience for me to see these guys out here."

With so few at-bats during the regular season, Lamb is avoiding tinkering with too much in Arizona.

"Sticking with my approach," he said. "My strength is working center to left center. Early on, I've [been] bailing on that. I'm trying to pull too many balls to right field. I've got to stick with my strengths. That's kind of what I did today. I got jammed on a ball up middle and got another away and drove it to left-center field. When I get good pitches, I've got to make sure I hit them."

Rockies' No. 10 prospect Tim Wheeler and Andy Burns (Blue Jays) drove in a pair of runs apiece for the last-place Rafters, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

"It's huge," Lamb said of the win. "They can swing the bat really well and we were swinging well today. Our pitching came up big right in the last few innings. We're kind of back and forth with wins and losses, so it's definitely a big win."

Henry Urrutia (Orioles) slugged a grand slam and finished a triple shy of the cycle for the Saguaros.

Rays prospect Merrill Kelly gave up a run on five hits over 1 1/3 innings of relief to improve to 1-0 for Salt River while Jake Barrett (D-backs) gave up a hit in a scoreless ninth to earn his first save.

Kline, the Orioles' seventh-ranked prospect, took the loss after allowing six runs -- four earned -- on four hits while recording two outs in relief.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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