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Diamondbacks Minor League Recap 6/29/2022: Henry/Pfaadt Wednesday

Brandon Pfaadt pitched great again for Amarillo, but he would be upstaged by Tommy Henry’s more impressive outing for Reno.

Syndication: Arizona Republic Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Diamondbacks Minor League affiliates combined for a 3-1 record.

Top Prospect Performances

Visalia SS Jordan Lawlar: 0-4, 2 K
Amarillo RHP Brandon Pfaadt: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 94 pitches (64 strikes)
Visalia 3B Deyvison De Los Santos: 0-4, 1 K
Reno LHP Tommy Henry: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 88 pitches (64 strikes)

AAA: Reno Aces 5, Sacramento River Cats 3


Reno (39-35) rode an outstanding start from lefty Tommy Henry and a 4-run 8th inning to put away Sacramento. This game started out as a pitcher’s duel between Henry and Sacramento starter Raynel Espinal, with the only run in the first 7 innings a result of a bloop single by Stone Garrett scoring Jake McCarthy from second. Henry finished his start with 7 shutout innings only 5 hits, no walks, and 8 strikeouts. He’s been on fire for his past seven starts, making a bid to join the D-backs rotation after the All-Star break.

After Henry was done tormenting Sacramento hitters, it was Luis Frias’ turn. Frias pitched around a 2-out single to post a zero for his 3rd hold of the season. The bottom of the 8th was a different story. Shelby Miller got the assignment of trying to preserve a 1-0 deficit, but it quickly blew up in his face. With an 0-2 count, Cole Tucker ripped a hanging slider into the Reno bullpen to double the lead to 2 runs. The blast was Tucker’s first since being claimed by Arizona earlier this month.

Following a strikeout, three consecutive walks loaded the bases for the middle of the order and just 1 out. Jake McCarthy was unable to take advantage of that opportunity, as he struck out looking for the second out of the inning. After a pitching change, Garrett once again plated more runs for Reno with a bases-clearing double into the left field corner.

Those three runs took Sacramento out of slam range with just 3 outs left to get. Reno sent out Keynan Middleton to close this game out. A single and a walk would put two baserunners on for Willie Calhoun, who blasted out a home run to trim the lead to 5-3. A fielding error by Middleton would bring up the potential tying run to the plate with 2 outs, but he would blow a 95.5 MPH fastball at the top of the zone past Ka’ai Tom for the final out of the game.

AA: Amarillo Sod Poodles 10, NW Arkansas Naturals 4

Brandon Pfaadt got the start for Amarillo (33-38) and did his usual thing, throwing a quality start with an impressive strikeout total. Pfaadt allowed 2 runs in 6 innings, allowing 5 hits, walking 2, and striking out 9. Both runs came in the first, as Nick Loftin and Tyler Gentry hit back-to-back homers off the D-backs pitching prospect. With those 9 punchouts, which almost feels like a common occurrence with each start, Pfaadt now has 105 on the season. I’m hoping he gets his overdue promotion to Reno soon, so he can be more appropriately challenged.

Here are some strikeout highlights to enjoy:

On the other side, Amarillo hitters enjoyed big performances at the plate by Jorge Barrosa and Leandro Cedeno. Both players recorded 3 hits and 2 RBI from the 1st and 3rd spots in the order, as the Sod Poodles had plenty of run scoring opportunities as they went 8-18 with runners in scoring position. For the entire game they had 12 hits and 36 at-bats, which meant the Soddies were able to create their own breaks in this game. The big hits came in the 3rd, when Juan Centeno, Roby Enriquez, and Tristin English plated 4 runs in the inning. English’s double missed a home run by just a few feet, hitting high up on the left field wall and above the reach of Naturals left fielder Tucker Bradley.

After Pfaadt’s gem and the offense putting up 10 runs of support for the D-backs pitching prospect, it was just a matter of getting 9 low-leverage outs to close it out. Jeff Bain pitched the first two innings, allowing a 2-run homer to Gentry in the 8th. The home run was Gentry’s second of the game but in a 10-2 game, it only affected the final score. Cam Booser put up a zero for the 9th.

High A: Hillsboro Hops 3, Tri-City Dust Devils 2

A 3-run 3rd inning would stand in this game, as Jamison Hill and a trio of relievers held off the Dust Devils for Hillsboro’s (32-37) second straight win. Hops manager Vince Harrison would not be able to see it on the field, as he was ejected after arguing an out call at home in the first inning. Shane Muntz doubled and Ryan Bliss walked to open up the 3rd inning, putting two on with no outs. After a flyout off the bat of Adrian Del Castillo, A.J. Vukovich tripled home both runners to give the Hops a 2-0 lead. After Caleb Roberts struck out, although he put up a fight with 8 pitches needed to retire him on strikes, a wild pitch allowed Vukovich to cross the plate for a third and ultimately vital insurance run.

Despite the early lead the Hops had chances to tack on, but Vukovich’s triple was their only hit with runners in scoring position in 10 at-bats. Ultimately the lack of offense for the rest of the game proved to be moot, as Hill turned in a solid start with 5+ innings of 2-run ball on 4 hits, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. The second run came around the score after Hill threw his last pitch, as Andrew Saalfrank couldn’t keep his inherited baserunner from scoring. Saalfrank, Jose Alcantara, and Christian Montes De Oca would combine for three scoreless innings to close out the game with the latter achieving a 4-strikeout performance despite pitching in only one inning.

Low A: Visalia Rawhide 1, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 18

Visalia (23-48) took an absolute beating in this game, falling behind 16-0 after 4 innings. Josh Swales and Luis Tejeda got knocked around in this game, combining to allow 16 runs on 12 hits and 4 walks. 7 of those runs were unearned, as the Rawhide committed 4 errors on the infield. The only run for Visalia came on an Alvin Guzman solo home run, his first of the season.