Spinners net Futures walk-off victory
Middlebrooks drives in winner vs. Renegades in 12th at Fenway
BOSTON -- Prior to Lowell's Saturday afternoon meeting with Hudson Valley at Fenway Park, third baseman Will Middlebrooks noted some frustration that his team hadn't put together complete baseball games during the Spinners' three-game losing streak.
He said that after winning eight of 10, the team couldn't quite find the right mix of hitting and pitching, and it was eating at him.
But against the Renegades at the third annual Futures Game at Fenway, Middlebrooks capped off a strong showing by his teammates in the 12th, notching a game-winning single to center field that propelled the Spinners to a 4-3 win.
"It was just a flow of relief," Middlebrooks said. "We'd lost three straight. It was a great time to get a win."
In front of a three-quarters-full Fenway Park, Middlebrooks did exactly what he was talking about in pregame -- from the first inning to the 12th frame, he found ways to give his team a chance to win.
Middlebrooks notched a single in the second, then gave the Spinners their first lead of the ballgame with a two-run double in the third. But neither of those would be bigger than his single to center in extra innings.
Mitch Dening led off the frame with a single to right, promptly stealing second. After an intentional walk to Luis Sumoza, Lowell initiated a well-executed double steal in the midst of a wild pitch.
Tim Federowicz walked, setting up a bases-loaded situation with one out. Jon Hee came to the plate and nearly ended the contest with a base knock to center, but for the second consecutive inning, Hudson Valley center fielder Anthony Scelfo made a game-saving catch on a liner into his territory.
That set the stage for Middlebrooks, who delivered a similarly well-hit ball to center. Unlike the previous two, this one found turf. The third baseman finished with three hits and three RBIs on the afternoon.
"He gave me a big smile and said, 'I'll take care of it,'" Spinners manager Gary DiSarcina said. "I thought that the center fielder was going to make another catch, but Middlebrooks' been good for us."
The late-inning heroics preserved a well-executed game from entering the loss column. The Spinners had a 3-2 advantage heading into the ninth inning before Hudson Valley tied the game on a fielding error to send the tilt into extras.
Much of the heroics could be attributed to starting pitcher Stolmy Pimentel's performance on the hill. Pimentel left after five innings, allowing just five hits and two runs in his first game at Fenway Park.
"I feel very good, and I feel happy," he said. "That was my dream today, to play at Fenway Park. I didn't win the game, but I feel happy because my team won."
Pimentel left the game in reliever Stephen Fife's hands, who pitched three scoreless innings leading into the ninth.
The duo, teamed with strong pitching in the extra frames, kept Lowell in prime position to take the ballgame late.
"We play a lot of tight games," DiSarscina said. "I don't know if it's because we're offensively challenged, but we've got good pitching. We know that. They keep us in a lot of games."
And for the first time in several games, they have clutch hitting to match their stellar pitching staff.
When the two are put together, the results are fairly simple.
"Pitching came through, timely hitting came through," Middlebrooks said. "And our defense played well today. So yeah, I think we played a complete game."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.