11/16/11 6:31 PM EST
A's Ortiz goes yard twice in Desert Dogs win
Fellow farmhand Coleman homers in his second straight game
By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com
"This," the A's farmhand said, "was a good way to go out."
The same could be said of another Oakland prospect -- Dusty Coleman also parked one and fell a double shy of the cycle -- as the Desert Dogs defeated the AFL title game-bound Salt River Rafters, 12-7, on Wednesday afternoon.
Shortly before Coleman tripled home Phoenix's seventh run, Ortiz struck a two-run blast on an 0-2 pitch by reliever Rob Waite (Tigers) to give the Dogs a 6-3 advantage in the sixth.
"I was really just trying to make contact," said Ortiz, who saw a cutter, a fastball and finally a slider. "I was choking up, just trying to put bat on ball."
The Dogs catcher then launched his second long ball in as many innings, connecting on a 2-2 pitch by Steve Ames (Dodgers) that also brought home Corban Joseph (Yankees). Ortiz came to the plate with two on and two out in the eighth and singled in Joseph again to complete his first three-hit game this autumn.
"Throughout the Fall League, I have been happy with my at-bats. It's tough playing every third game," said Ortiz, who batted .310 and drove in a dozen runs in his 15 games in Arizona. "I just wanted to play more games, get my catching right and my arm healthy."
The Oregon State product, Oakland's sixth-round draftee in 2009, underwent surgery on his throwing arm last year, then batted .277 in 75 games split between Class A Advanced Stockton and Double-A Midland this season. His .340 average for the Ports sank to .237 with the RockHounds, though it was his first Texas League trial.
"Overall, it was a good year," he said, "getting [my arm] back to where it was. In Stockton, I started out really well, and at Midland, I struggled at the end."
Coleman, with whom Ortiz played at Stockton this season, mashed a 1-1 pitch by starter Stephen Fife (Dodgers) in the third to tie the score, 3-3. The shortstop also went yard in Tuesday's victory over the Surprise Saguaros.
Slotted second in the lineup Wednesday, Coleman had singled in his first-inning at-bat, leaving him a double shy of the cycle. The 28th-round draftee in 2008 grounded out toward the mound in the eighth.
"We all knew it," Ortiz said of the cycle bid. "We were all cheering for him. We told him to round first and go to second."
In his Fall League debut Oct. 5, Coleman went 2-for-4. After registering a third hit -- a two-run homer -- in his next game Oct. 8, he endured an 0-for-35 slump that lasted 10 games. Those struggles made this week all the more enjoyable.
"It's awesome," Ortiz said. "He doesn't get to play every day, [having been] on the taxi squad. When he hit the home run today, everyone was pumped for him."
Dogs starting pitcher T.J. McFarland (3-0) fanned a season-high seven over four innings. He allowed three runs -- one earned -- on five hits, including a two-run double to Jay Austin (Astros) in the opening inning. Ortiz said McDonald's five groundouts were in no small part due to his sparkling sinker.
Austin finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Another Houston prospect, first baseman Kody Hinze blasted a three-run shot in the ninth.
Fife (1-6) gave up four runs on six hits and exited with two outs in the third.
Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.