PHOENIX -- Just when the XM All-Star Futures Game was looking like a pitching showcase, U.S. and World hitters turned it into a case of dueling rallies. Grant Green and Tim Beckham nearly turned it into a Home Run Derby, but their doubles off the fence still set the tone for the go-ahead three-run eighth.
"He started it off with that double to center field, and that pretty much amped everybody up," Beckham said of Green after the 6-4 U.S. victory. "It got everybody going, and we fed off of that. We came away with a 'W.' That was great."
The annual midsummer showcase for the game's top prospects still proved to be a display of top arms, from upper-90s fastballs from Rays prospect Matt Moore and Cardinals fireballer Carlos Martinez, to former top pick Bryce Harper's throw from the left-field corner to home plate on a mere short hop. But the game itself turned on big hits, and the U.S. put up a slew of them in the eighth from mostly midgame entries.
Green entered the weekend with four home runs in 76 games for Double-A Midland, but his reputation as a solid overall hitter belied that. He flashed it upon entry as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning, belting a line drive that hit the left-field fence on one hop to drive in Giants speedster Gary Brown for a 3-0 U.S. lead.
Green was pinch-hitting for Indians second-base prospect Jason Kipnis, whose home run leading off the bottom of the first inning had opened the scoring off Braves Triple-A ace Julio Teheran. By the time Green came back up leading off the eighth, the World Team was trying to protect a 4-3 lead, built entirely on a sixth-inning surge.
Arizona prospect Tyler Skaggs, Nationals farmhand Brad Peacock and Cardinals top pick Shelby Miller pitched a scoreless inning apiece ahead of Moore, who hit 100 mph on the Chase Field radar gun in the fourth. After Milwaukee's Tyler Thornburg pitched a scoreless fifth, however, Alfredo Silverio continued his long-awaited breakout year as a Dodgers prospect with a two-run homer that set loose the World offense against Cleveland lefty Drew Pomeranz.
2011 Futures Game
"I feel proud to have had the opportunity and to hit that shot," Silverio said. "Tremendous experience to meet new teammates and I take away the memories of an All-Star Game."
Sebastian Valle's pinch-hit RBI double tied the game and set up Harper's throw, an arching launch from the corner that seemingly chased Chih-Hsien Chiang down the line from the third. He beat the throw, but Valle took third base. Jurickson Profar's ensuing triple off Twins prospect Kyle Gibson made the extra base moot.
Harper admitted afterwards he was looking for a highlight.
Harper, just promoted to Double-A Harrisburg about a week ago, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, one of them coming with the potential go-ahead run on second base in the eighth inning. Royals prospect Kelvin Herrera's 97 mph fastball set him down that time and prompted some scattered boos.
"I was just trying to gear up for the fastball and hit it," Harper said. "I got it a couple times, didn't really get anything [to show for it]. But it happens."
Green and Beckham saw almost nothing but heaters from Herrera, and they connected on two. Green's drive to straightaway center hit just under the yellow line on the wall, landing him easily on second base. Beckham shrugged off a curveball, geared up for a 2-0 fastball and sent it to the left-field fence on almost a straight line.
The gathering of scouts and executives in the stands took notice. Green took away game MVP honors by one vote over Beckham.
"I think, to them, it shows you can compete against the cream of the crop of other organizations," Green said. "For us, too, it's the type of thing you want to do well."
The go-ahead hit came from Austin Romine, potentially the Yankees catcher of the future. With two outs, he delivered a single to left before Colorado's Nolan Arenado added an insurance run with his line-drive double to right.
"It feels great, especially being able to do it front of my family," Romine said. "We are so close to California that they were able to drive over. For me, it means a lot more being able to do it in front of my family."
Tigers top prospect Jacob Turner and Mets first-rounder Matt Harvey finished off the World Team in the ninth. Phillies right-hander Jarred Cosart earned the win with a scoreless eighth.