Huntzinger, Scorpions silence Rafters
Red Sox prospect hurls four scoreless innings in rare AFL shutout
In a league in which teams combine to average 11 runs a game, fans at Scottsdale Stadium were treated to a rare pitchers' duel Tuesday night.
Brock Huntzinger scattered four hits over four innings as the last-place Scottsdale Scorpions surprised the first-place Salt River Rafters, 2-0.
The Red Sox prospect struck out three and did not walk a batter to earn his first Arizona Fall League win. Huntzinger's biggest challenge came in the first inning, when Rockies prospect Tim Wheeler tripled with one out. But the former third-round pick struck out Ryan Wheeler (D-backs) and retired Ben Paulsen (Rockies) on a fly ball to right field.
"I had a good three-pitch mix, nothing was overpowering," Huntzinger said. "I kept the ball in and out with my fastball, showed a changeup when necessary and kept the guys off-balance."
After a slow start, Huntzinger has pitched well in his last two starts, allowing one earned run over eight innings. The 23-year-old right-hander has struck out 19 while walking only two batters over 23 frames for the Scorpions. Overall, he's 1-1 with a 5.09 ERA in six AFL appearances.
"I feel like the whole time I've been out here I've had a good outing for two innings and then I try and do something different in the third," he said. "The last couple of games, I have stayed within myself and not tried to do too much."
A night after watching six teammates surrendered nine runs to the Rafters, Huntzinger said it was nice to see pitching prevail.
"After they scored nine off of us last night, it's definitely not expected," the Indiana native said of the low-scoring game. "These guys beat us pretty bad yesterday, and to come back and answer is a pretty good feeling."
Five relievers finished off the fourth shutout of the Fall League season. Will Latimer (Red Sox) tossed 1 1/3 hitless innings and Giants prospect Stephen Harrold allowed a hit while fanning one in the ninth for his first save.
"Low-scoring games are fun to watch, but when it's cold it's hard to stay in it," Huntzinger said. "It was a good feeling going into the clubhouse and shaking hands after a win."
Red Sox outfielder Alex Hassan went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while Bryce Harper -- MLB.com's No. 2 prospect -- extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a fifth-inning single for the Scorpions.
Rockies right-hander Joe Gardner fell to 2-1 after allowing a run on three hits and striking out four over three innings.
Tim Wheeler went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and Adam Eaton (Diamondbacks) and Astros catcher Jason Castro also had two hits apiece for the Rafters.
Robert Emrich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.