SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Corey Ray has had his ups and downs in this year's Arizona Fall League, but the No. 58 overall prospect looked as good as he has all season on Thursday night as he delivered a clutch game-winning double in the top of the 11th inning to lead
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Corey Ray has had his ups and downs in this year's Arizona Fall League, but the No. 58 overall prospect looked as good as he has all season on Thursday night as he delivered a clutch game-winning double in the top of the 11th inning to lead Salt River past Scottsdale, 7-6, at Scottsdale Stadium.
Ray, Milwaukee's No. 2 prospect, was held hitless during the game's first nine frames but hit the ball hard on two separate occasions before emerging as the hero for the Rafters in extra innings.
Batting with a runner on third base and one out, Ray waited back nicely on a 2-2 curveball from left-hander Brennan Bernardino (Reds) before hammering it into the left-center-field gap to put Salt River on top for good.
"I knew he had a good curveball," said the left-handed-hitting Ray about facing Bernardino, "but he threw it too many times, I think. So I had seen it, and I knew the depth it had, and when he threw it, I knew it was a strike and just wanted to put a good swing on it and put the barrel on it."
Ray's key hit in the 11th inning capped a back-and-forth affair that saw the two teams combine for 10 runs over the first four innings and then exchange runs in the 10th.
Taylor Sparks (Reds) put Scottsdale on the board early when he connected on a solo home run to left field with two outs in the bottom of the first. Matt Thaiss (Angels' No. 3 prospect) would follow with a single before advancing to second on a walk and then coming around to score on Aramis Garcia's (Giants' No. 8) single.
The Scorpions held their lead until the top of the third inning, when Salt River erupted to score three runs before making an out en route to a five-run frame.
Jack Reinhemer (D-backs' No. 25) opened the inning with a single and Dom Nunez followed with a bloop double down the left-field line ahead of leadoff man Yonathan Daza (Rockies), who plated Scottsdale's first run of the game with a single. Victor Reyes then drove in a pair of runs with a ringing double off the right-field wall, and Anthony Santander (Orioles' No. 9) capped the Scorpions' big frame with a long two-run home run down the line in right field.
Salt River responded with a run in the bottom half of the frame courtesy of a sacrifice fly by Garcia before scoring two more runs in the subsequent inning to tie the game at 5.
Chadwick Tromp (Reds) delivered the big hit in the frame in the form of his first Fall League homer, a one-out solo shot off of left-hander Tanner Scott, who proceeded to load the bases with three consecutive walks before uncorking a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score from third base.
The teams remained tied after regulation and then exchanged runs in the 10th, as Brian Mundell (Rockies' No. 14) gave Salt River the lead with an RBI single in the top of the inning, only to see Tromp tie the game once again in the bottom half with an RBI knock.
It all set the stage for Ray's heroics in the top of the 11th.
"Just having a good at-bat and continue what I was doing earlier in the game," said Ray when asked about his approach heading into his final at-bat. "Just letting the process take over."
Fellow Brewers farmhand Nate Griep notched a pair of strikeouts in the bottom of the inning as he pitched around a placement runner on a second base as well as a two-out walk to record his first Fall League save.
Though Ray's double marked his only hit on Thursday, the 23-year-old outfielder consistently put together good at-bats and made several loud outs.
"I think my rhythm is better," said Ray, who owns a .219 average with four doubles in 17 games for Salt River this fall. "I'm starting not to swing at so many balls and controlling the zone a little bit better. Overall, I think I'm seeing the ball well and having good at-bats."
Reyes (D-backs' No. 19) also had a big game offensively as he went 2-for-4 to improve his Fall League average to .313. He recorded two RBIs, scored one run and picked up his eighth stolen base. Nunez (Rockies' No. 15) hit a pair of doubles and scored a run from the bottom of the lineup, while Daza paced the Rafters' offense by scoring two runs out of the leadoff spot.
Scottsdale also had its share of offensive standouts, most notably Tromp, who finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBIs to bump his AFL average up to .375. Sparks, meanwhile, scored two runs as part of a 2-for-4 performance that included a hit-by-pitch and a walk. He's hitting .328 overall and owns a share of second place in the circuit with four home runs.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.