Antonio Senzatela might be a long way from his home of Valencia, Venezuela.
But the 18-year-old right-hander has sure looked comfortable at Gesa Stadium.
Senzatela, one of the Colorado Rockies’ prized prospects, tossed six strong innings for the Tri-City Dust Devils in a 3-2 Northwest League win over the Eugene Emeralds.
The youngest member of the Dust Devils held his composure for 84 pitches — 54 of them for strikes — even after three errors led to two unearned runs.
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“I just took a deep breath and told myself to stay relaxed,” Senzatela said through a translator — fellow pitcher Alex Rodriguez.
Senzatela improved his season ERA to 2.81 in three starts. But in his two starts at home, he has yeilded just one run in 11.2 innings for an ERA of 0.77.
“I like the fences here. It’s a big field,” he said. “It allows you to throw your fastball in on hitters.”
Dust Devils manager Drew Saylor was as impressed with Eugene starter Jimmy Brazoban, who allowed two unearned runs on four hits in four innings of work.
“We didn’t get too many hittable pitches,” said Saylor.
But the first-year Tri-City skipper has been just as impressed with his own young righty.
“He’s been tremendously impressive, especially being sent away from the Dominican Summer League in the middle of the season. He’s five time zones away from home, but he’s an 18-year-old holding his own against 22-year-olds,” Saylor said. “You can see his competitiveness. Internal fire always trumps fear.”
Eugene (5-4) got an early run in the first after leadoff batter Ronnie Richardson singled and advanced to third on a fielding error by shortstop Patrick Valaika. Richardson scored on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Renfroe to make it 1-0 Eugene.
Tri-City (4-5) scored two runs in the bottom half of the first, taking advantage of a throwing error by first baseman Trae Santos and two walks by Brazoban to load the bases. Michael Benjamin did his part with a two-out single on an 0-2 count, scoring Michael Tauchman and Valaika for a 2-1 lead.
“We really did some special things and found a way to pick one another up,” Saylor said, referring to a double-steal in the bottom of the sixth and the hit-and-run in the seventh.
The Ems scored again in the sixth off throwing errors by second baseman Cesar Galvez and catcher Chris O’Dowd, tying the score at 2.
But the Dust Devils pulled ahead with a run in the bottom of the seventh after O’Dowd singled to lead off the inning. He took third on a hit-and-run single by Tauchman and scored on a sac fly by Sean Dwyer to make it 3-2.
Shane Broyles (4-0) got the win for Tri-City with two scoreless innings, and Trent Daniel picked up his NWL-leading 11th save with a hitless ninth.
Tyler Hale (1-1) took the loss for Eugene.
Notes: LHP Tyler Anderson, a Colorado Rockies first-round draft pick in 2011, will get the start today for Tri-City. He’ll go against Eugene LHP Eric Schoenrock. ... Former Dust Devils LHP Chad Bettis will make his major league debut today for the Colorado Rockies, getting the start against the Atlanta Braves. The 6-foot-1 left-hander out of Texas Tech is 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 12 starts for Double-A Tulsa. The former second-round draft pick in 2010 missed the entire 2012 season with a right shoulder injury but has rebounded strongly this season, striking out 68 batters in 63 innings.