Little things add up
Closer Look: Soriano benefits from near misses, miscue
Posted: Sunday July 11, 1999 08:17 PM
By Bryan Boyle, CNN/SI
BOSTON -- A little frustration can end up going a long, long way. In Mark Mulder's case, it went over 300 feet in the opposite direction -- twice.
U.S. pitcher and Athletics prospect Mulder served up two home runs in a five-run third inning as the World team defeated the U.S. team 7-0 in the inaugural All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at Fenway Park.
Perhaps the U.S. team would not have fallen so quickly behind in the first annual meeting between the minors' hottest prospects, and perhaps World shortstop Alfonso Soriano would not have hit his first of two homers on the radiant day, had Mulder not been flustered.
A closer look at how Mulder's third inning began reveals that it came unraveled for the 21-year-old pitcher for Class AAA Vancouver after a pair of near misses.
To lead off the third, World center fielder and Devil Rays prospect Alex Sanchez blooped a single to short center, just away from the grasp of backpedaling second baseman and Cardinals prospect Adam Kennedy. Next, World second baseman and Diamondbacks prospect Rafael Furcal shot a liner just over the reach of leaping shortstop and Rangers prospect Kelly Dransfeldt. As Sanchez and Furcal finished their advances, however, Dransfeldt tossed to Kennedy, who wasn't looking as the ball rolled into short right and each runner moved into scoring position.
Mulder was left with no outs, runners on second and third and little choice. He challenged Soriano, who ricocheted a 2-2 offering off the Coca-Cola bottle over the Green Monster for a three-run homer.
"The two broken bats didn't mean that much. I had two strikes. But I came inside and just got it up," said Mulder.
Mulder then gave up a double, another homer -- a two-run shot to Mets prospect Jorge Toca -- and coaxed a groundout before he was through for the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Soriano, a top Yankees prospect, gained confidence before a crowd certainly much larger than anything he'd seen at Class AA Norwich. He homered again in the fourth, a two-run shot that earned the 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic a two-homer, five-RBI day and MVP honors.
"You can't imagine what it means to me in terms of my career, and especially to my mother," Soriano said through an interpreter. "Everything I do in baseball is dedicated to my mother back in the Dominican Republic."
Mulder wasn't quite so dramatic.
"We're just out here to have fun," said Mulder. "It's nice. I love it here [in Fenway]. Hopefully, my next outing here will be better."Soriano said he expects to be promoted to shortstop at Class AAA Columbus by the end of the season. Two awkward singles, each only inches from being harmless outs, may end up getting Soriano there sooner than he thought. But with Derek Jeter situated at shortstop within the organization for some time to come, Soriano may need some more serendipity to bust into the majors.
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