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Rangers' Ledbetter fires four perfect frames in AFL

MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It was hard for David Ledbetter to find fault with his start as he was perfect in Surprise's 4-3 win over Salt River on Tuesday.

The Rangers' right-hander fired four perfect frames, striking out four and retiring all 12 batters he faced in his third and best start of the Arizona Fall League thus far.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It was hard for David Ledbetter to find fault with his start as he was perfect in Surprise's 4-3 win over Salt River on Tuesday.

The Rangers' right-hander fired four perfect frames, striking out four and retiring all 12 batters he faced in his third and best start of the Arizona Fall League thus far.

"It was good," Ledbetter said. "I just let my defense play and tried to throw a lot of strikes and it worked out."

Box score

Ledbetter struggled a bit with command during the regular season -- walking 4.12 batters per nine innings with Double-A Frisco and 4.56 per nine innings with Triple-A Round Rock -- but was able to command all of his pitches against the Rafters.

"I was able to put the fastball on both sides of the plate and really work it inside on these guys, which is good to set up the relievers, too," Ledbetter said. "It's just good to go both sides of the plate because it makes that plate look a little bit bigger."

Not only was Ledbetter perfect on Tuesday, but he also had plenty of opportunities to throw his secondary pitches, something he is focusing on during his stint in Arizona.

"Just my fastball command and my off-speed command," Ledbetter said when asked what he'd like to improve upon. "Today, I got to throw a lot of curveballs, a lot of sliders. It was good."

The 25-year-old began the 2017 campaign pitching out of the bullpen, but without a role, for Frisco. Ledbetter said he was used sporadically, which often made it hard to execute.

However, after throwing 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a spot start with Round Rock, Ledbetter remained with the Triple-A club and saw his numbers improve.

In 13 starts, Ledbetter went 3-4 with a 4.31 ERA after posting a 5.72 ERA in 16 games with Frisco.

"It doesn't matter who you ask," Ledbetter said. "If you have a role, it's so much easier to be prepared."

After Ledbetter left the game Tuesday, Minnesota's Ryan Eades struck out the side in the fifth, maintaining the perfect-game bid. Tyler Jay (Twins' No. 8) gave up a double to Peter Mooney (Marlins) with one out in the sixth, putting thoughts of a perfect game to rest. However, a potential shutout was still in play.

The Rafters ruined that plan when they struck for three runs in the ninth, but the comeback attempt fell short and Surprise came away with the win.

Surprise did the bulk of its damage in the fifth as it struck for three runs on four hits.

Twins' No. 17 prospect LaMonte Wade led off the frame with a base hit and after stealing second, he scored on John Nogowski's (Cardinals) RBI double. Two batters later Sean Miller (Twins) drove in a run with a base hit and Michael O'Neill (Rangers) capped the frame with an RBI single of his own.

Rays' Brett Sullivan added to the lead and provided what turned out to be the game-winning run with an RBI double off the right-field wall in the ninth.

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

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