The Rafters suffered their second loss in a row today. To add insult to injury, they were done in by Washington Nationals farm hand, Dee Brown, who launched a towering two run home run in the third inning off John Koronka to lead the Peoria Saguaros to a 6-3 victory.
Since today was Wednesday, Dustin Yount was elgible to play and he started the game at first base for the visiting Rafters. Yount hit out of the 8th slot. Jeff Fiorentino started in left field again today and batted in his customary third spot. He was followed by right fielder Nolan Reimold who batted clean up today. The Rafters bats have cooled since they mounted a four run rally in the bottom of the ninth on Monday to beat the Scottsdale Scorpions 9-8. Jeff Fiorentino is no exception and he struggled in a 0 for 3 performance. The only ball he hit well was a broken bat line drive in the third inning which went almost directly to Seth Bynum. Bynum was playing on the outfield grass but had to leap a bit to snag Fio’s drive. As result of today's shutout, Fiorentino’s batting average dropped by 60 points and he is no longer a league leader
Reimold followed Fiorentino’s line drive with one of his own, pulling a Stu Pomeranz fastball down the left field line for a RBI double. Reimold ended the day 1 for 3, with one walk and one RBI. He is really putting wood on the ball now. Interestingly enough, last year, Nick Markakis smacked an identical hit in the same place in this ballpark. Dustin Yount also added a hit to the Rafters attack when he drove a T.J. Beam offering straight up the middle for a nice ground ball base hit in the top of the ninth.
In his previous at bat, Yount was worked very well by Cardinals prospect Dennis Dove. Dove worked him outside with two straight pitches, then fired a fastball inside to get a called third strike on the surprised Yount. I had seen Yount play earlier this year at Potomac and watched him hit the ball well that night. Today I was also impressed with his efforts at the plate. Although he is hitting only .143 here, he sees a lot of pitches and looks to be a selective hitter. In addition, he plays a nice first base defensively.
Although he was quiet at the plate, Fiorentino did a splendid job defensively again today. In the bottom of the 7th, he made a diving catch of a Brett Gardner ball which was dying in front of him in short left. He laid out and leaped forward to Rob Gardner of what would have been a certain hit. If ESPN had been at the game Fio’s catch would have certainly made the highlights.
Fiorentino’s reputation seems to have preceded him here. I sat beside the Saguaros dugout today and overheard several of the home team’s players discussing his stance (he stands very flat footed) and the stillness of his feet (he looks like his weight is on his front foot) and the fact that he chokes up on the bat. Yet, he continues to rake the ball. Except for today, he has been very selective at the plate and he has gotten good wood in just about all of his at bats that I have seen.
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