Thompson entered the game to face Moya with two outs in the sixth and struck him out.
"The strikeout pitch might not have been a strike," said Thompson, a pitcher giving an analysis usually rendered by a hitter. "But I'll take it."
The U.S. erased a one-run deficit in the bottom of the inning on a two-run homer by
Moya, one of six players who played the entire game, could have denied Thompson the win if he had led off the World team's ninth with a homer. Instead, he struck out to finish a day in which he went 0-for-3 with a walk. When the U.S. finished the 3-2 win, Thompson realized he was the winning pitcher when he heard it over the public-address system at Target Field.
Thompson and Moya know each other but had never faced each other. U.S. manager
"I didn't know I'd be facing Moya until he got in the box," Thompson said.
Thompson struck out Moya on three pitches: a swing-and-a-miss on a 91-m.p.h. sinking fastball, a foul on an 84-m.p.h. change-up, and a strike-three call on the 83-m.p.h. slider that Moya said definitely wasn't in the strike zone.
The Futures Game, the most glamorous and visible of minor league All-Star games, is played annually at the site of the major league All-Star Game, two days before the main event. Moya, 22, had never played in a major league stadium before Sunday. He has 22 homers for
"When he hits it in
Moya led off the second in a left-left matchup against
"Sure people talk about the strikeouts and they're a concern, but sometimes with a power hitter, that's there," Avila said. "We're working through that to make him a little bit less prone to the strikeouts. He's working hard for that."
Thompson, 20, is from the
"He's a special talent," Avila said of Thompson last week. "Even though he's in
Thompson is 6-4 for Lakeland with a 3.14 ERA in 16 starts. He had given up one homer all season until he gave up two in his most recent start.
Thompson felt a bit drowsy at the team breakfast Sunday until someone mentioned that in the 15-year history of the Futures Game, more than 100 of its participants have become major league All-Stars.
"When they read that, I kind of perked up," Thompson said before the game.
Afterward, he said, "It's cool to get the win, but it's not what this is all about. It's getting the experience and playing with all these talented guys."
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