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Despite having his modest five-game hitting streak snapped on Nov. 2, Brent Clevlen bounced back by smacking his second home run of the AFL season in his next game. It was a seventh-inning three-run shot that broke a 2-2 tie, helping the Phoenix Desert Dogs rally for a 6-2 victory over the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Three days later, the 23-year-old right fielder turned in his second three-hit game with a pair of RBIs and a stolen base. With the Desert Dogs trailing, 5-4, in the eighth, Clevlen ripped a game-tying RBI single, sparking his team to another come-from-behind win.
Clevlen joins nine other Tigers prospects seeing action in either the AFL, the Venezuela Winter League or the Mexican Pacific League. Here's how the others fared during the week of Nov. 1-7.
Arizona Fall League
RHP Virgil Vasquez -- Vasquez (2-1) extended his scoreless-innings streak to 18 over his last four starts, scattering six hits and five walks while striking out 15.
3B Kody Kirkland -- Kirkland had two hits this week, dropping his average to .262.
LHP Corey Hamman -- Hamman (1-0) appeared in one game this week. On Nov. 6, he allowed two hits in a scoreless inning.
RHP Preston Larrison -- The 25-year-old right-hander appeared in two games this week and surrendered one run on three hits in one inning on Nov. 7.
RHP Jordan Tata -- Tata (0-2) continued to struggle on the mound. He allowed runs in each of his four starts. On Nov. 2. Tata yielded three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and a walk over four innings.
Venezuelan Winter League
OF David Espinosa -- Espinosa has one hit with five strikeouts in three games during the past week for the Navegantes del Magallanes. Over 18 games, he has one extra-base hit, a double.
IF Juan Francia -- Francia is 2-for-18 with two RBIs and five runs scored in 18 games.
OF Jackson Melian -- Melian ended an 0-for-10 slide by going 4-for-12 with two RBIs in three games from Nov. 4-8 for the Cardenales de Lara.
Mexican Pacific League
INF Maxwell Leon -- Leon hasn't played for the Tomateros de Culiacan since Oct. 19. He is 0-for-2 with an RBI, two runs scored and a walk.
Clevlen/Vasquez help Dogs win AFL Championship!
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The only team with a winning record during the Arizona Fall League's five-week regular season showed its superiority one more time Saturday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium.
Kick-started by three unearned runs in the third inning, the Phoenix Desert Dogs captured their third straight AFL championship with a 6-2 victory over the Grand Canyon Rafters.
Four hits, solid pitching, spotless defense and excellent vision enabled the Desert Dogs to become the first team in the AFL's 15-year history to win four titles. Based on their 20-11 regular-season record, compared to Grand Canyon's 16-16 record, the best team emerged as champion.
"This is the first championship team I've been on in pro ball and it's pretty neat," Desert Dogs right fielder Brent Cleven said. "The season ended on a good note, which is always a good thing."
Clevlen, the Detroit Tigers' second-round draft pick in 2002, was the offensive star. He drove in two runs with a two-out, bases-loaded single in the fifth inning and slugged a leadoff home run in the eighth to put an exclamation point on Phoenix's victory.
"I think the single was a bigger hit than the home run," Clevlen said. "It came with two outs and put us up 5-1. That's a decent lead in the middle of the game." >p / Right-hander Virgil Vasquez, another of the Tigers' top prospects, retired the first 12 batters he faced, wobbled a bit the next two innings -- primarily because of cramps in his legs and fingers -- and departed with a lead that turned into a personal victory.
"We had a great team," he said. "I kept telling the guys that I wish we would have this team all the time. We had so much fun together."
It was a team that relied on good pitching and defense.
And if their opponents wanted to chip in an errant throw or run into a wild streak, the Desert Dogs gladly accepted the generosity.
The title game started out as a duel between Vasquez and Grand Canyon's A.J. Murray, a left-hander from the Rangers organization. The first 16 batters were retired, a streak that ended when Murray hit Kody Kirkland (Tigers) with one out in the third inning.
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