Wheeler helps Rafters keep on rolling
D-backs prospect collects four hits, drives in two runs
Ryan Wheeler ended the summer with a Southern League championship and he's carrying that momentum into the Arizona Fall League.
The D-backs' No. 10 prospect went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and doubled to set up the go-ahead run Saturday as the Salt River Rafters rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox.
After finishing fourth in the league with 89 RBIs during the regular season, Wheeler drove in eight more runs in the playoffs to help the Mobile BayBears win their first title since 2004. The four-hit night against Mesa raised his AFL average to .556.
Wheeler delivered an RBI single in the third inning, then doubled home another run in the seventh to get the Rafters within 4-3. After fellow D-backs prospect David Nick tied it with an RBI double in the eighth, Wheeler doubled again off Cubs right-hander Chris Carpenter (0-1) with one out in the ninth.
Ben Paulsen (Rockies) walked and pinch-runner Alex Castellanos (Cardinals) raced home with the go-ahead run on a throwing error by second baseman Jarek Cunningham (Pirates).
The comeback made a winner of Astros farmhand Josh Zeid (1-0), who pitched a hitless eighth. Josh Wall (Dodgers) worked around a hit in the ninth for his first AFL save.
Nick and Astros prospect Jay Austin both had two hits for the first-place Rafters (4-1), who have won three in a row.
Josh Vitters, the Cubs' No. 5 prospect, went 3-for-5 with an RBI to hike his average to .381 for the Solar Sox. Fellow Cubs farmhand D.J. LaMahieu chipped in two hits, drove in one run and scored another.
Daren Smith is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.