SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Surprise Saguaros defeated the Salt River Rafters, 4-3, on Monday behind a strong game from Rangers No. 11 prospect Yanio Perez.Perez had his best performance thus far in the Arizona Fall League, going 2-for-3 with his first home run and two RBIs, matching his season total
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Surprise Saguaros defeated the Salt River Rafters, 4-3, on Monday behind a strong game from Rangers No. 11 prospect Yanio Perez.
Perez had his best performance thus far in the Arizona Fall League, going 2-for-3 with his first home run and two RBIs, matching his season total up to that point.
"I focused on just getting the barrel out to the ball," Perez said through a translator. "I just let my strength do the work. I just tried to focus and not get out of whack, stay in control and stay within my game."
Perez is a native of Cuba, where he represented the country on the junior national team before signing with the Rangers in the fall of 2016. He showcased his versatility by playing four different positions, although many think he will most likely stick to left field and first base at the professional level.
The Rafters struck first when Orioles No. 3 prospect Ryan Mountcastle sent a shot over the left-center-field wall off starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara, the Cardinals' No. 9 prospect, in the top of the second, but Perez tied the game in the home half.
Early on, the game looked as if it was going to be a high-scoring affair, with both teams scoring two runs in the first four innings and going to their bullpens early.
The Saguaros loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth on three straight singles to begin the inning, giving themselves an opportunity to blow the game open and take control. Instead, they scored only one run on a fielder's choice followed by a shallow pop fly before Twins No. 17 prospect LaMonte Wade was thrown out trying to steal home for the third out, changing the narrative of the game.
The Rafters bullpen held the Saguaros to just one run in the final three innings, giving their offense a shot to come back, but Surprise contained them to just one run despite giving up seven hits in the last four innings and holding on for the victory.
The win was the Saguaros' fifth of the season, bringing both teams to a 5-6 record. They will face off again Tuesday, this time at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Joshua Clark is a journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.