Rafters' Arenado caps big day with big win
Named to Rising Stars Game, Rockies prospect plates three runs
Despite all of his accomplishments this season, Nolan Arenado still has one more he'd like to cross off his list.
The Rockies' No. 4 prospect smacked a pair of doubles and drove in three more runs Tuesday afternoon, helping the first-place Salt River Rafters rally for a 10-7 triumph over the last-place Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Arenado opened the scoring in the first inning with a ground-rule double that plated Adam Eaton (D-backs). With the Rafters trailing, 7-3, he doubled down the left-field line to drive in a pair of runs in the sixth. That sparked Salt River (16-9) to its seventh win when trailing after six innings.
"I got behind in the count and he [Andrew Carignan] threw me a fastball low and I got a little out in front," Arenado said. "I saw the ball good. It was a good at-bat, it was good stuff."
Arenado's latest big game put an exclamation point on an exciting day for the former second-round pick. After playing in the All-Star Futures Game and earning California League postseason All-Star honors, he will play in Saturday's Rising Stars Game. The 20-year-old third baseman has followed a breakout regular season with a scorching fall campaign, leading the AFL with seven doubles and 27 RBIs.
"This is pretty awesome," Arenado said. "The only thing better than this is playing in the bigs, but this is pretty sweet. It's all blessings; right now, things are going good. We're playing good ball and if we keep playing the way we are we might have a shot at the championship. All in all, I'm pretty happy with what's going on."
The Rafters moved four games in front of second-place Mesa in the Eastern Division. And with only 13 games remaining, Arenado has begun to think about getting a chance to play on the big stage in the nationally televised Championship Game on Nov. 19.
"It's cool. To get to play on television, it's pretty exciting," the California native said. "All it is is more baseball. I've been having a good time out here, it would be cool to win this thing. I'm having a fun time, and winning with these guys would be real cool."
Tigers prospect Hernan Perez also doubled twice and drove in three runs and Eaton went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored for the Rafters, who collected a season-high seven doubles.
Tigers right-hander Rob Waite (1-0) was credited with the win, despite allowing a run on four hits over 1 1/3 innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.
Michael Choice, the A's No. 2 prospect, doubled home three runs and Kevin Ahrens (Blue Jays) had three hits for the Desert Dogs (8-17).
Reds left-hander Travis Wood gave up a run on three hits and fanned three over three innings for Mesa, but Carignan (0-2) was charged with three runs on three hits and a walk in one inning and took the loss.
Robert Emrich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.