After a frenetic first three innings gave way to a nail-biter, Leslie Anderson ended the 2010 Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game with a walk-off solo homer in the ninth Saturday night in Surprise, Ariz.
The tie-breaking homer was the first run scored since the third inning in the West Division's 3-2 win over the East Division.
A 28-year-old outfielder in the Rays system, Anderson barely cleared the right-field wall on a 1-0 offspeed pitch from Rockies right-hander Bruce Billings. The Cuban defector hit .302 in three combined Minor League stops this season, and went 2-for-4 as the only player with multiple hits.
As he neared home plate, an exuberant Anderson tossed off his helmet and briefly backpedaled before embracing his teammates.
The East threatened in the top of the ninth when it loaded the bases with two outs. Detroit right-hander Chance Ruffin escaped the jam by striking out the only batter he faced, the Yankees' Brandon Laird, to earn the win.
An All-Star Game featuring some of baseball's best prospects, the Rising Stars Game of 2009 featured 28 players who were in the Majors this past season, including the likes of Buster Posey, Ike Davis and Mike Leake. Some of the big names this year were Eric Hosmer (0-for-4), Dustin Ackley (1-for-2) and Mike Montgomery (1 2/3 IP, 1 ER).
The East went up 1-0 in the top of the first, a strenuous 34-pitch inning for Royals left-hander Mike Montgomery. Dodgers center fielder Trayvon Robinson drew a leadoff walk, took second on a wild pitch, and stole third with one out. That led to a run on a groundout.
Montgomery took a liner off his left foot to start the second, but stayed in the game for two more batters.
The Yankees' Manuel Banuelos ran into trouble when he allowed three consecutive singles with one out in the second. Krauss, a second-round pick in 2009, saved a run on the last of the hits, gunning down Boston's Ryan Lavarnway at the plate.
The lead was preserved briefly. Three pitches later, a fielding error by Orioles third baseman Ryan Adams led to an unearned run for the West.
Most everything but hits contributed to a run for both teams in the third. Consecutive two-out walks issued by Seattle's Josh Fields led to a 2-1 lead for the East in the top half, while the West's two-out rally in the bottom half was helped by a close call, another Adams error and a passed ball.
Three innings after Lavarnway saved a potential run for the East, Minnesota center fielder Ben Revere returned the favor for the West. Revere ran down a fly off the bat of the Giants' Brandon Belt just in front of the wall in left-center with a runner on.
Belt, a candidate to break camp with the defending World Series champs, is hitting .362 in the AFL and had great at-bats all night, drawing three walks. The last came in the ninth, loading the bases for the East before Ruffin was called on.
Both teams had late chances, but both were handcuffed at the plate with runners on base. The East finished 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position, the West 1-for-11.
Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress created his own jam for the West with a leadoff walk in the seventh, but worked out of it with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning. Displaying perhaps the most impressive heat of the night, he struck out Laird on three consecutive fastballs after falling behind 2-0. Laird didn't offer at one of them, and the last was clocked at 101 mph.
The East had a runner on third with two out in the eighth when Robinson, who had already shown off his speed, mimicked Revere and tracked down a deep fly, this one to straight-away center.