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Surprise! Laz Rivera goes ham

His four hits pace Glendale’s rout, and Zach Thompson stares down Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to preserve the Desert Dogs win

Three TDs: Laz Rivera had his best game yet in the AFL, as the Desert Dogs put up big numbers for the win.

Glendale Desert Dogs 21, Surprise Saguaros 8

Laz Rivera (2B): 4-for-6, 3 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 SB

Tanner Banks: 4 23 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Zach Thompson: 1 13 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Well this is strange, the Desert Dogs got out to a big — and I mean big — lead after their first time at the plate. In total, Glendale scored six runs in the top of the first, and that was really all they needed, as they held a big lead for the rest of the afternoon. Rivera drove in the fourth run of the first inning with a single, and stole second base after Martin Cervenka stole home (no video, so not sure if it was a passed ball). Rivera would come around to score the sixth and final run of the inning after a bases loaded hit-by-pitch.

Banks, with a huge lead, was average in his outing. He was able to stay in the strike zone with 40 of his 62 pitches as strikes, but he gave up so many hits that it eventually got him into trouble in the fifth inning. Simply said, he was not missing any bats. Banks still has had a great AFL season so far with a 2.53 ERA, but today was just not his day.

Meanwhile, Rivera was still rocking. He would add three more hits, all singles, and came around to score two more times. Rivera finally had his breakout AFL game, with a four-hit outing.

Of course, it would not be a Desert Dogs game without a lead falling into jeopardy: By the eighth inning, Surprise was within striking distance, after they scored four runs to trim the Glendale lead to two. With Vlad Guerrero Jr. up, Glendale called on Thompson to get him out, and that is what Thompson did to keep the lead intact. The Desert Dogs took advantage of Thompson’s escape by tacking on 11 insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Thompson would close out the game with a shutout ninth to preserve the win.