Mets' Murphy goes 4-for-4 for Sags
Peoria rallies for nine runs in eighth inning for comeback win
Daniel Murphy went 4-for-4 and drove in two runs as the undefeated Peoria Saguaros scored nine times in the eighth inning en route to an 11-6 win over the visiting Surprise Rafters on Monday.
Murphy, who hit .313 in 49 games for the New York Mets this season, singled three times, doubled and drove in one of Peoria's nine runs in its eighth-inning rally. The 2008 Eastern League All-Star is batting a league-leading .571 with five RBIs in four games in the AFL.
"All you can do is try to have a quality at-bat, and fortunately right now I'm just missing the players on the field and finding some holes," Murphy said.
Peoria (6-0) trailed heading into the eighth, 5-2, before Murphy drew a leadoff walk from Rowdy Hardy (Royals) to spark the big rally. Chad Huffman (Padres) followed with an RBI double and White Sox catcher Cole Armstrong ended Hardy's afternoon with an RBI single to right.
"I knew they ran a lefty out there, so we all tried not to do too much, just keep the line moving," said Murphy of facing Hardy, the 2007 Carolina League Pitcher of the Year. "We just want to have quality at-bats."
Kyle Blanks (Padres), Brett Wallace (Cardinals), Shane Robinson (Cardinals) and Murphy all delivered RBI singles before Nationals farmhand Leonard Davis capped the rally with a bases-loaded triple off Chris Hayes (Royals) for an 11-5 edge.
"This is a great lineup, there's no breaks in it," said Murphy. "Shane Robinson and Huffman and Blanksy -- it's a good lineup all the way through and right now we're really meshing together."
"Davis had the big one to bust it open, but it was a good inning," Murphy added.
Saguaros reliever Derek Rodriguez (1-0) picked up the win with a scoreless eighth. The White Sox prospect struck out one in his third AFL appearance.
Cory VanAllen (Nationals) started for Peoria and allowed four runs on five hits and a walk over two innings. He threw 41 pitches and gave up a homer.
Murphy, who spent most of August and September in Queens with the Mets, said the game isn't much different in Arizona.
"I think the game is the same, pitchers try to make quality pitches, and you've got to play good defense," he said. "That's baseball, no matter where you go, you try to have a quality at-bats."
The Mets prospect played the outfield at Shea, but worked mostly as an infielder in the Minors. He said he's spending time at various positions right now, aiming to improve his versatility.
"[I want to] play well, give [myself] the best opportunity," he said. "I'm trying to get better on defense, I've taken some ground balls at second, went to the outfield a little. But mostly I'm hoping to stay as crisp as possible and play the game hard."
Hardy (1-1) was charged with four runs on three hits and a walk and recorded just one out to suffer the loss. Hayes surrendered five runs on five hits and a walk in the frame.
Rafters starter Willie Eyre (Rangers) struck out five and allowed a run on two hits and a pair of walks over three frames in his second start.
Surprise (2-4) raced out to a 5-0 lead by the fourth. Nolan Reimold clubbed a two-run double in the first before fellow Orioles prospect Brandon Snyder hit a leadoff homer an inning later.
Ivan DeJesus (Dodgers) added an RBI double in the second and Lucas May (Dodgers) scored on a wild pitch in the fourth. Surprise scored its final run in the ninth on DeJesus' RBI double to plate Julio Borbon (Rangers).
Danny Wild is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.