Yankees’ Thairo Estrada hits first AFL homer


“I knew that (Mesa starter Kyle McGowin) likes to throw a lot of sliders,” Estrada said. ” The inning before, he had a long inning so I knew his fastball sank a little, and I was prepared for something to come in. I knew he wasn’t going to mess around and come right at me because of the long inning.

“It’s all about staying with my routine,” Estrada added. “Drive the ball to the gaps and look for good pitches to hit. That’s been my plan the whole year, and that’s what I continue to do.”

On the mound, Scottsdale starter Albert Abreu (Yankees’ No. 7) was lights-out in his five innings of work. The reigning AFL Pitcher of the Week allowed one run on three hits, striking out four and lowering his ERA to 1.20.

Estrada said his personal connection with Abreu helped propel him on both sides of the ball.

“I feel very happy,” Estrada said. “I know these guys well, and for me to come in here and play some solid defense is important to me.”

No. 2 overall prospect Victor Robles, who made his AFL debut on Monday, was responsible for the lone run Abreu allowed. The Nationals outfielder blasted a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall in the bottom of the third.

Scottsdale scored its last two runs in the eighth inning. Angels No. 20 prospect Troy Montgomery scored Brantley Bell (Reds) with his second triple in the AFL before promptly scoring on a wild pitch. Montgomery finished 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

Solar Sox hurlers combined to strike out 17 batters in the contest. Four Mesa relievers — the Cubs’ Jake Stinnett and Pedro Araujo and the Nationals’ Dakota Bacus and Jimmy Cordero — teamed up for four perfect frames.

Perry Cohen is a journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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