Bryce Harper helps Scottsdale Scorpions to AFL crown

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Bryce Harper is a winner!  Or something.

From MLB.com comes word that the 18-year-old outfield prospect led his Scottsdale Scorpions over the Peoria Javelinas Saturday in the championship game of the Arizona Fall League.  Harper drove in a run in the 3-2 victory, capping off a truly impressive fall campaign in the prospect-packed AFL.

Harper finished up with a .343 batting average, .410 on-base percentage and .629 slugging percentage over 35 at-bats.  He hit three doubles, two triples and a home run, also stealing a base and drawing four walks.

The Nationals were hesitant about sending Harper to the desert this fall because they were worried he might flop against a steep level of competition.  But he proved more than capable and should be allowed to kick off the 2011 season at a high level of Single-A.

If all goes according to plan, Harper should be able to climb his way to Double-A by the end of the new year.

Sean Manaea has a no-hitter through eight innings

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UPDATE (11:06 PM ET): Manaea is through eight innings of his no-hitter. He caught Rafael Devers looking, then induced a pop-up to retire Sandy Leon and whiffed Jackie Bradley Jr. to end the inning. He’s at 95 pitches and a career-high 10 strikeouts entering the ninth.

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea has no-hit the Red Sox through seven innings of Saturday’s game. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea held the Sox to just three total baserunners through the first seven innings.

Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning, collecting an infield hit for what appeared to be the Red Sox’ first hit of the evening. Upon further review, however, the hit was reversed after Benintendi incurred a batter interference call for running outside the baseline.

Manaea is currently working with a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth. He’s racked up eight strikeouts against 23 batters so far.

If Manaea sees the no-hitter through to completion — as seems entirely possible, given that his pitch count is resting at 84 entering the eighth — he’ll be the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter, meanwhile, was back in 1993 against the Mariners’ Chris Bosio.