De Los Santos leads Surprise one-hitter
Marlins' Dominguez homers, supports Saguaros' pitching clinic
How good are these Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League? Well, they were at their best on Saturday afternoon.
Starter Miguel De Los Santos completed five innings of one-hit ball, four relievers tag-teamed to complete a rare one-hit shutout and top Marlins prospect Matt Dominguez belted a two-run homer in the Saguaros' 11-0 rout of the host Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Surprise (16-6) has cruised to the AFL's best record because of its league-leading offense, but pitching reigned supreme in their latest win. The club's five hurlers combined on the first scoreless one-hitter since the then-named Surprise Rafters accomplished the feat and topped Team China 17-0 on Oct. 27, 2007.
De Los Santos (Rangers) retired the first 10 batters he faced before Cody Puckett (Reds) singled toward first baseman Joe Terdoslavich (Braves) with one out in the fourth inning. It was, in baseball terms, "a cheap hit."
Puckett "checked his swing, and the first baseman threw behind me," De Los Santos said. "I thought it was an error, but they called it a hit."
The only other batter to reach opposite De Los Santos, Grant Green (A's), struck out but found his way to first because strike three was also a wild pitch. The 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic tied AFL pitchers' season-high in strikeouts (eight) and innings (five) and threw 49 of his 64 pitches in the zone. He credited, in part, his changeup -- the best in Texas' system, according to Baseball America.
"My tempo was pretty good," said De Los Santos, who spent the past Minor League season divided between Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco. "My changeup was working because I was throwing my fastball for strikes."
De Los Santos' first three AFL appearances were in relief, his last three starting. He has compiled a 3-0 record and a 3.18 ERA.
Reliever Brendan Lafferty (Royals) retired all three batters he faced in the sixth, Bryan Paukovits (Royals) pitched around a walk to Roberto Perez (Indians) in the seventh, Kirby Yates only issued a base on balls to Dustin Coleman (A's) in the eighth and Jeremy Jeffress (Royals) struck out two for a 1-2-3 ninth.
"I was confident in my bullpen," De Los Santos said. "My guys, they did pretty well; I knew they were going to do well."
The starter had to feel good about his lineup too. Despite Dominguez entering Saturday 1-for-20 at the plate over his past five games, the 22-year-old third baseman sent a 1-0 pitch from Tyson Ross (A's) into the left-field seats for Surprise's 2-0 first-inning edge. Dominguez also was hit by a pitch in his five plate appearances.
Prior to his struggles, Florida's first-round Draftee had longballs in consecutive games, on Oct. 14 and 17, including an opposite-field grand slam on the latter date. Dominguez is batting .231 but has collected 13 RBIs through 13 AFL games.
Dominguez spent most of this past Minor League season at New Orleans -- his first trial at Triple-A -- where he batted .258 with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs in 87 games. He finished the year in the Majors: In 17 games there, he batted .244 (11-for-45).
Ross (1-1) allowed three total hits in three innings before exiting. The right-hander was bested by his lefty counterpart.
Dominguez's fellow Marlins farmhand, shortstop Paul Gran, hit a grand slam, his first Fall League homer, during the Saguaros' six-run seventh inning. Elio Sarmiento (Rangers) also contributed a solo shot.
Anthony Seratelli (Royals) went 3-for-4 at the plate, raising his AFL average to .395. Leonys Martin, the Rangers' No. 10 prospect, also went 2-for-4 and scored three runs.
Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.