Cleveland’s Yu Chang delivered a big two-run triple for the West team in their walk-off win over the East team in the annual Fall Stars Game on Saturday.
Chang, one of two Indians prospects selected to the roster of the West squad this season, was one of the star performers in the exhibition, breaking a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with his clutch knock. The AFL East team rallied with three runs in the top of the eighth to take their first lead since the top of the first, but the West got back-to-back hits with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and then steal a walk-off win.
Slugger Peter Alonso (New York Mets) notched the first run of the game in the first inning for the East with a solo homer to right-center off of Nate Pearson (Toronto). The feat defied some odds, as he caught a 103-MPH heater in order to drive the first ball out of the park on the day.
That score remained the same until the bottom of the third, when Arizona’s number one prospect Jon Duplantier took over for Houston’s Forrest Whitley for the East. New York Yankee’s number two prospect Estevan Florial tripled to lead off the inning, but scored an out later on a sacrifice fly by Milwaukee’s top prospect Keston Hiura to tie the game at one.
The West team took its first lead of the day in the bottom of the fourth against the Chicago Cubs’ Bailey Clark. Toronto’s Cavan Biggio singled and moved to second on a base hit by Atlanta’s Cristian Pache. Seattle’s Evan White moved both runners up on a fielder’s choice grounder to third and a passed ball allowed Biggio to scamper in from third. Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Keibert Ruiz singled home the other base runner in his only at bat of the game to give the West a 3-1 lead.
Three straight hitters reached against the West in the fifth as the East cut into the deficit. A one-out walk by Daz Cameron (Detroit) off of Kyle Muller (Atlanta) was followed by singles by Bobby Dalbec (Boston) and Pavin Smith (Arizona), with the latter driving in Cameron to make it 3-2.
Chang replaced Hiura at second base in the top of the sixth and assumed his spot in the two-hole in the lineup. That inning, the East tied the game up at three after a leadoff walk by Alonso off of Seattle’s David McKay was chased by a single by Oakland’s Luis Barrera. A grounder to short by Philadelphia’s Austin Listi scored Alonso from third to knot the game back up.
The Indians’ only prospect in the game came through with his big hit in the bottom of the frame. Minnesota’s Devin Smeltzer took over on the mound and got to work quickly, striking out the first two batters before walking Kansas City’s Khalil Lee. San Francisco’s Melvin Adon came on in relief of Smeltzer and gave up a single to right to Pittsburgh’s Cole Tucker. Chang stepped to the plate and got a high 98 MPH fastball and sent a screaming liner to right field that cleared the head of Cameron and went all the way to the wall. The 110-MPH exit velocity shot scored both base runners and Chang slid into third with an easy triple. He was stranded there as Toronto’s superstar prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. struck out looking to end the threat.
Both teams provided quiet sevenths before the East struck through with a big blow in the eighth. With Demarcus Evans (Texas) on the mound after a Jake Rogers’ (Detroit) one-out single off of Blake Weiman (Pittsburgh), Alonso drew a walk. A groundout by Barrera moved both runners up and Listi looked to play the hero, belting a three-run home run to left-center to put the East out in front, 6-5.
Chang had a chance to come through with another big hit in the bottom of the eighth. After a leadoff single by Kansas City’s Meibrys Viloria and a one-out error at second on a fielding error, two stood on the bases. Tucker struck out swinging and Chang did the same against young Los Angeles Angels’ hurler Brett Hanewich.
The East got two runners on in the ninth, but could not score as Cameron was caught stealing third after his leadoff walk and P. Smith was stranded after his two-out walk.
An error started the West’s rally in the bottom of the ninth, with one of the future faces of the game at the center of the action. Guerrero reached on a throwing error by the shortstop and moved up to second base with Colorado’s Justin Lawrence on the mound. Biggio, also the son of a Hall of Famer, lined out to left for the first out. Baltimore’s Ryan McKenna popped to Alonso at first for the second out, but with the game on the line and down to his final strike, San Diego’s Buddy Reed tripled on a 3-2 pitch on a ball that drifted over the head of Barrera to easily score Guerrero with the tying run. Viloria ended the night’s festivities with a sharp single to center on his own 3-1 pitch, moving the speedy Reed across the plate with ease with the winning run.
For his game-tying two-out triple, Reed was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Chang went 1-for-2 on the night while playing second base, hitting a triple and driving in two while striking out once to strand a man.
Indians left-handed pitcher Rob Kaminsky was also selected to participate in the game, but he was instead replaced on the roster by Tampa Bay left-hander Dalton Moats, who got the win with two-thirds of an inning of relief. Kaminsky has not pitched since October 27, but there has been no official word for his lack of recent work is anything health-related.
Play in the Arizona Fall League will resume on Monday after the usual Sunday off. The Indians’ Glendale Desert Dog shared affiliate will host Peoria in a 3:35 PM ET contest.