International League edges PCL in All-Star Game
RENO, Nev. -- Propelled by a flurry of early runs against Astros prospect Jarred Cosart, the International League defeated the Pacific Coast League, 4-3, in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Aces Ballpark on Wednesday night.
Indianapolis Indians catcher Tony Sanchez rifled a three-run, opposite-field home run that just cleared the right-field wall in the second inning, putting the International League ahead, 4-2 -- a lead that held the rest of the game. Sanchez, who appeared in two games with the Pirates earlier this season, was drafted fourth overall in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
"I can't believe it," said Sanchez, who won Top Star honors. "Coming into a game like this, with all the talent, you just don't want to mess it up. You don't expect to get a hit like that."
Cosart, who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Rays on Friday in his Major League debut, allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings while walking two and striking out one on Wednesday.
"You kind of expect [strong pitching]," Sanchez said. "You don't expect Cosart to give up those runs in the second inning. The next seven innings were stereotypical of an All-Star Game."
The PCL bullpen did not allow a run the remainder of the game. Highlighted by Cardinals prospect Michael Wacha -- who made three starts earlier this season for St. Louis -- the bullpen allowed just two hits in the final 7 1/3 innings and retired the last 13 batters it faced.
"Lately, I've been focusing on getting the ball down in the zone," said Wacha, who added that it was previously not a priority in his outings.
Similarly, the IL benefited from an effective bullpen after Louisville Bats starter Greg Reynolds, who earned the win, allowed two of the PCL's three runs in the first inning. After the PCL's first three batters reached on singles, two scored before Reynolds settled down to retire the side. The PCL mustered just four hits and one run in the final eight innings.
"They did a great job," said IL manager Dave Miley, who skippers Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. "We were joking in the dugout saying, 'Oh boy" [after the flurry of runs in the first two innings].
"I'm only going by my experience of the Triple-A All-Star Game. [High-scoring games] is how I remember it going down."
Chris Bootcheck of Scranton/Wilkes/Barre was the lone IL reliever to go longer than an inning. He allowed just one baserunner in two innings.
"Bootcheck was the one guy who could give us more than one inning," said Miley, who added that he wanted to use the reliever in the right spot and not stretch the bullpen too thin.
Reds prospect Billy Hamilton wowed fans from the opening at-bat of the contest. He beat out an infield single on a routine ground ball to PCL shortstop Chris Owings. The next pitch, he stole second base with his blazing speed. Hamilton scored two plays later on a groundout by Chris Colabello.
Hamilton's speed is no secret, but his glove also impressed Wednesday. The PCL had runners on first and third with two outs when Hamilton made a diving catch in center field to end the threat in the fourth inning.
Overall, it was a clean effort from both bullpens and defenses.
"That's what you get when you put together an All-Star roster," Sanchez said.
With the victory, the International League improved to 9-7 all-time against the PCL in All-Star Games. Played in front of 10,135 fans at Aces Ballpark in its fifth year of existence, the game featured six of Major League Baseball's top 100 prospects, according to MLB.com.
"I had a blast," said Miley of his first time in Reno. "It was great. They've done a terrific job."