CLEVELAND -- Rockies lefty Ben Bowden, their No. 16 prospect, stood alone in silence in the middle of the National League dugout.
He took a deep breath, tugged on his beard and hoped for the best.
There was nothing more he could do.
Bowden had just given up two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning against the American League team to turn a 2-0 lead into a 2-2 tie and a blown save in the Futures Game. He watched helplessly as Luis Patino took his place on mound.
The teams ended up playing one extra inning, but neither side was able to score in the eighth, and the game ended with the tie. It still felt like a loss to Bowden.
“That was not a good representation of me, the Rockies, our National League team,” Bowden said. “That was bad.”
Bowden started the seventh inning by walking Angels’ prospect Jo Adell. The next hitter, Mariners’ top prospect Jarred Kelenic lined out to the left field for the first out of the frame. Rangers catching prospect Sam Huff followed with a monstrous 418-foot two-run home run high and deep to left field to the tie the game at 2 and change everything.
Detroit’s Isaac Paredes followed with a double, Red Sox prospect Jarren Duran hit a single to left, and just like that, the AL had runners on the corners with the winning run at third base.
Patino, the San Diego prospect, replaced Bowden and struck out the next two batters to end the scoring threat. Huff was eventually named the Futures Game's Most Valuable Player and all Bowden could do was shake his head.
“That was terrible inning,” Bowden said. “[Huff] crushed a terrible pitch, and that’s what happened.”
What Bowden saw as a defeat, his manager, Dennis Martinez, saw as a blessing. Of course, the former pitcher wanted to win, but he still walked off the field with a smile. He hoped all of his players, especially Bowden, could also muster a grin and focus on the positive aspects of the game.
“I’m just happy to be around these young players and this beautiful game,” Martinez said. “What is better than a tie game? They are so good. You don’t want to see anybody go home and feel like a loser and somebody else feeling like a winner. God knows what he is doing. It was a tie game and an enjoyable game for everybody.”
Despite the blown save, there’s still a lot for Bowden to be happy about so far this season. He leads the Double-A Eastern League with 20 saves even though he was promoted to Triple-A on June 22. He's managed to keep hitters to a .111 batting average using all three of his pitches.
The pitches just didn’t work Sunday, and sometimes, that happens.
“I told Bowden that it happens to the best,” Martinez said. “He’s one of the best closers in the Minors, but he got behind in the count and one of the best hitters got a pitch to hit. It happens. Hey, we didn’t lose. We didn’t win. It was a good tie.”