Chris Taylor knew Glendale right-hander Jarret Martin was struggling with his command Tuesday night. The Peoria shortstop had watched as Martin walked the bases loaded in the seventh inning of their Arizona Fall League matchup, bringing Taylor to the plate with the score tied at 4 and two out.
Taylor took Martin's first five pitches, two for strikes, before watching a 3-2 fastball miss inside, giving him a free pass to first base and an RBI. It was all Peoria would need and the Javelinas defeated the Desert Dogs, 5-4, at Surprise Stadium.
"I was just trying to be patient and make him throw strikes," said Taylor, the Mariners' No. 5 prospect. "He had been struggling and I wanted to work the count a little bit."
Taylor, who finished the game 0-for-2 with two walks, has always been a patient hitter. His 84 walks this season led the organization and helped him post a .409 on-base percentage in 134 games between Class A Advanced High Desert and Double-A Jackson.
The Javelinas took an early lead against Glendale starter Michael Lorenzen. Second baseman Orlando Calixte drove in two runs in the second inning and first baseman Japhet Amador added to the lead with a home run in the fourth inning.
Lorenzen, the Reds' No. 6 prospect, allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in four innings. He struck out one batter.
It was Lorenzen's second subpar start in the AFL. He gave up seven runs in two innings in his first start of the fall.
Peoria starter Jason Adam, however, pitched true to form Tuesday. The Royals' No. 18 prospect threw allowed just two hits in four scoreless innings and struck out two batters.
"Adam did a great job," Taylor said. "He did a great job throwing to contact and we did a great job making plays behind him."
Once Adam exited the game, Glendale mounted a comeback against Peoria's bullpen. The Desert Dogs scored three runs in the fifth inning and tied the game in the sixth inning on Jared Mitchell's RBI groundout.
Designated hitter Eddie Rosario, the Twins' No. 5 prospect, went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI to lead Glendale's offense.
But after the hiccup in the middle innings, the Javelinas' bullpen closed out the game with three scoreless innings. Right-hander Andrew Robinson pitched a perfect ninth inning for the save.
After Peoria closed out the victory, Taylor said the AFL has been the kind of challenge he expected.
"I came out here expecting to see some good competition," Taylor said. "The main thing is to have some fun and stay relaxed. We've got a good group of guys in clubhouse. We all seem to mesh real well together.
"We're seeing some good arms, for sure. But that's what we're here for, to see the top level of competition from all levels and get better."