Salt River surge backs Garvin's shutdown start
Tampa Bay prospect tosses five scoreless frames in Rafters' blowout
For five innings Wednesday night, Salt River left-hander Grayson Garvin dominated the Scottsdale lineup. He allowed only two baserunners -- one hit and one walk -- as he befuddled hitters with a mix of his low-90s fastball, changeup and slider.
Led by Garvin's strong start, the Rafters beat the Scorpions, 12-2, at Scottsdale Stadium.
Garvin, who was picked 59th overall by the Rays in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, didn't just blow through the Scottsdale lineup, he did it while being economical with his pitches. He threw 65 pitches and became the first pitcher to throw five innings in the Arizona Fall League this season. He also struck out five batters.
"I felt I threw good pitches with all of my stuff," Garvin said. "I have a breaking ball that I'm working on that was on and off, but I threw some quality strikes with all of my pitches."
Garvin teamed up Wednesday with catcher Curt Casali, a familiar face behind the plate. The two were classmates at Vanderbilt and are now teammates in the Rays' organization.
"We always have a comfort level there," Garvin said. "I've probably thrown more to him than any other catcher. He knows what I like to do, so I don't have to shake him off too much."
With Garvin putting zeroes up on the scoreboard, the Rafters hitters had time to go to work.
After stranding runners on second and third in the second inning, Salt River broke through for two runs in the third against right-hander Aaron Northcraft, the Braves' No. 10 prospect, with the help of an error and a wild pitch.
"My job doesn't change, but it's always nice to get some padding under your belt," Garvin said. "It's good to know you have those guys working behind you and you have a better chance to win."
The Rafters broke the game open with six runs in the eighth inning. Right fielder James Ramsey, the Cardinals' No. 10 prospect, provided the big blow with a three-run home run to right field off right-hander John Cornely.
Leading Salt River's offense were Ramsey and third baseman Andy Burns. Ramsey finished the night 2-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs, while Burns went 3-for-6 with two runs.
Scottsdale scored its lone runs on third baseman Peter O'Brien's two-run home run in the seventh inning off left-hander Andrew Chafin, the D-backs' No. 8 prospect.
Garvin's strong outing set the tone for the rest of the Rafters' pitching staff. He and four relievers combined to strike out 11 batters and allow just five hits. Left fielder Alex Dickerson, the Pirates' No. 13 prospect, was the only Scorpions player with a multihit game. He went 2-for-3 with a double and scored a run.
Garvin said he was happy to start the AFL season with such a good outing, but he was especially pleased he felt healthy Wednesday night. He is still working his way back from undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.
"I'm working to get all my stuff back," Garvin said. "I'm trying to make a small stride each time out. If I continue to do that, I think I'll be pleased with where I'm at."