Beckham homer short of cycle in Dogs rout
Rays infield prospect drives in four runs as Phoenix racks up 22 hits
It was 85 degrees Wednesday in Surprise, Ariz., but Tim Beckham and the Phoenix Desert Dogs were even hotter.
Beckham, the top overall pick in the 2008 Draft, fell a home run shy of the cycle, going 4-for-5 with a walk and four RBIs as the Dogs routed the host Peoria Saguaros, 15-1, for their fourth straight win.
"I've been swinging the bat well, hitting the ball hard," Beckham said. "The last couple games the hits seem to be falling in a little more, so it's going well."
Surprise starter Kevin Siegrist (Cardinals) had allowed just two hits over six scoreless innings in his first two AFL outings, but the Desert Dogs pounced on him right away. Phoenix scored three times in the first frame capped by Beckham's bases-loaded, two-out ground-rule double to left field.
The Desert Dogs tacked on another run in the second, driving Siegrist (1-1) from the game after allowing four runs on six hits over two frames. The Surprise bullpen didn't fared much better as Phoenix scored again in the third, three times in the fifth and racked up six runs in the sixth to open up a 14-1 lead.
The Rays' No. 20 prospect tripled off Surprise's Pete Ruiz (Red Sox) in the third, plating teammate Christian Yelich (Marlins). He walked and scored in the fifth, delivered an RBI single in the sixth and singled up the middle with the bases empty in the seventh. He bounced back to the mound in the ninth.
Though he had two at-bats in which a homer would have given him the cycle, the 22-year-old infielder said he tried not to think about it.
"I'm trying to make sure I stay over the ball and just hit it square -- I don't need to be thinking about the fences," Beckham said.
The Desert Dogs combined for 22 hits -- the most in any AFL game thus far this season. Leadoff man Josh Prince (Brewers) doubled twice and singled, lifting his Fall League average to .462. Fellow Milwaukee prospect Brock Kjeldgaard went 4-for-6 with a pair of RBIs.
Third baseman Yordy Cabrera (Marlins) collected three singles and Cory Brownstein (Braves), Khris Davis (Brewers) and Yelich had two hits apiece. All nine Desert Dogs starter had at least one hit with seven delivering multi-hit games.
As a team, Phoenix was 11-for-26 with runners in scoring position while Surprise went 0-for-8.
The Desert Dogs pitching staff was nearly as effective. Starter Nick Bucci (Brewers) improved to 2-0, scattering five hits while striking out six over four frames. He allowed one run on a second-inning shot by Surprise second baseman Colin Walsh.
Chris Jones (Braves) yielded one hit over two scoreless innings, followed by two shutout frames from fellow Atlanta farmhand Ryan Buchter. Gary Daley (A's) closed it out with a scoreless ninth.
Siegrist fell to 1-1 with the loss. Of the seven pitchers Surprise used in the game, only Mets prospect Greg Peavey was able to keep the Desert Dogs off the board, tossing scoreless seventh and eighth frames.
John Parker is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.