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Giants beat Dodgers, win AZL crown

Mella pitches five shutout innings in clincher for juggernaut
September 1, 2013

The Giants have dominated the Arizona League all season, so it may not be surprising that they captured the championship. To manager Nestor Rojas, it's a matter of cause and effect.

"Obviously, we saw good results and it's because they work hard," Rojas said of his players. "Obviously, it paid off. Leading in hitting, leading in pitching and now getting the championship, it shows that work pays off."

The Giants beat the Dodgers, 4-0, in Sunday night's one-game showdown for the title as Keury Mella allowed four hits and struck out six over five innings and first-round pick Christian Arroyo went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

Cristian Paulino got the Giants going with an RBI double in the third, then scored on a base hit by Will Calloway. Ryder Jones singled home Julio Pena in the fifth and Arroyo crossed the plate on a double play in the eighth.

"I've been fortunate to have a good group of kids to work with, and they worked hard every day," Rojas said. "[The championship] is very important to the kids. It feels like their work is paying off, because the kids have been working hard for that purpose. When you win ballgames, it shows you that you're doing the right thing."

The Giants won a lot this year. They took 16 of their first 18 games en route to a .667 winning percentage. As a team, they led the league with a 3.19 ERA, 552 hits, 368 runs scored, 320 RBIs, a .279 batting average and .360 on-base percentage.

"Work is pretty much it for us," Rojas said. "For me as a manager and a coach, I want to make those guys better, make them ready for the next level. Work is the biggest thing for that."

Rojas, who spent six years in the San Francisco organization mostly as a catcher, kept his pregame speech short.

"I've been in the semifinals and playoff games as a player -- we won four championships -- so I gave just a little talk," he explained. "I said, 'Go out there and play the game the right way and have fun.'"

Arroyo, drafted 25th overall out of high school in Florida, led the AZL with 39 RBIs and 47 runs scored while hitting .326 in 45 games.

"Oh, man, that's a special kid," Rojas said. "We have a few guys who are, but he's a really good player. He's a great teammate and a great kid. He works hard and he likes to win. He's always ready to play when he gets to the ballpark."

James McDonald, an 18th-round pick in this year's Draft, doubled and walked twice for the Dodgers.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to