The East and West Fall Stars took the field for the Arizona Fall League All-Star Game at Salt River Fields on Saturday night. In the Fall Stars Game, players with the highest talent in the Minor Leagues come together to battle on one stage.
Players of top Major League Baseball caliber, like Chase Utley, Andrew McCutchen, Mark Teixeira, Dustin Pedroia, Greg Bird, Albert Pujols, Jimmy Rollins, Kris Bryant and Mike Trout, just to name a few, have played in the Arizona Fall League.
This season, the Fall Stars West took down the Fall Stars East, 8-3. The West used a dominant bullpen and the long ball to lead themselves to victory.
The scoring started in an unpredicted way as Austin Dean (Miami Marlins) hit an inside-the-park home run to right field. It was a two-run home run as it scored Rowdy Tellez (Toronto Blue Jays) and gave the East a 2-0 lead over the West.
Toeing the slab to start the game for the West was Lucas Sims (Atlanta Braves). The 21-year-old, who has been in the MiLB since the age of 18, tossed 2.0 innings and gave up two runs on four hits, but his four strikeouts were very impressive.
As for the East, they started Sean Manaea (Oakland Athletics), who struck out four over 2.0 innings. The 23-year-old walked just one in his outing.
In the top of the fourth inning, another home run was hit, but it was for the other team and actually went over the fence.
Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees) flexed his muscles with a line drive two-run home run to left center field, plating Jurickson Profar (Texas Rangers) to tie the game at two between the West and East.
It was good to see Profar back in action for the Arizona Fall League after the infielder missed the last two seasons with a shoulder injury.
The West took their first lead of the game as Ramon Torres (Kansas City Royals) hit a sacrifice fly to right. The out was hit deep enough to allow Adam Engel (Chicago White Sox) to score, which gave the West a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning.
Since the West never looked back after taking the lead, Chaz Herbert (New York Yankees) got the win. He tossed a perfect inning of work with one strikeout.
On the other side of the ball, it was Abel De Los Santos (Washington Nationals), who gave up the run to the West, which handed him the loss on Saturday night. The right-handed pitcher gave up a run on two hits over 1.0 innings pitched.
After Patrick Wisdom (St. Louis Cardinals) got on-base in the top of the sixth, Austin Meadows (Pittsburgh Pirates) hit a home run that just cleared the fence in right. The West took a 5-2 lead on the homer from Meadows.
"He (Adam Ravenelle) pitched me pretty good. I got some fastballs I fouled off toward the end there, and he had a nice slider in the dirt, and I was able to lay off that. He just left one up and I was able to get the barrel out and get it over the fence. I thought I got under it a bit, but I'm glad it dropped right over the fence: 391 feet," Meadows said about his home run.
Jeimer Candelario (Chicago Cubs) pulled the East within two runs on an RBI-double in the bottom of the seventh inning to center field, but just minutes later, the West took the run back.
The run came off David Rollins (Seattle Mariners), who pitched in seven games for Triple-A Tacoma in 2015. The lefty held a 0.00 ERA over 9.1 innings pitched.
The run that the West got back came off the bat of Engel. The single scored Philip Ervin (Cincinnati Reds) to give the West a 6-3 lead in the top of the eighth.
Two more runs were added for the West just seconds later as Alex Blandino (Cincinnati Reds) crushed a line drive two-run homer to left field, scoring Engel.
Edubray Ramos (Philadelphia Phillies) struck out two batters in the ninth inning before handing the ball to Robinson Leyer (Chicago White Sox) for the final out. The 00-year-old got Cadelario to pop out to end the game and secure the 8-3 win for the West.
Sanchez, who plays in the New York Yankees organization, was handed the Fall Stars Player of the Game award, which was won by Greg Bird of the Yankees last season. Sanchez went 1-for-3 with two RBI in the victory, while also controlling the game behind the plate.
"I wasn't expecting it, because other hitters did a good job, too," Sanchez said after the game. "But I took it, and it's something I really feel good about."