Once again, a pair of errors and some double plays not turned was the difference in the game.
“When you don’t make plays defensively you are going to put yourself in a bad spot. You can’t give away outs, especially at this level and expect to win, said El Paso manager Rod Barajas.”
“The guys are working hard and they will get better.”
With the bases loaded in the third inning center fielder Manuel Margot, one of the Padres’ top prospects coming into the season, singled to right field for his first RBI with no outs.
Third baseman Jemile Weeks then hit into a double play to bring in one more run before left fielder Alex Dickerson struck out to end the inning.
El Paso capitalized in the sixth with Dickerson’s shallow sacrifice fly to left field brought in Weeks, who had opened the inning with a triple.
Catcher Austin Hedges, who appears to have turned the corner with his offensive game, hit his first home run to right-center in the seventh inning, a massive solo shot and followed up the next inning with a single to left field with two outs to tie up the game.
“He’s come a long way in the last year,” Barajas said on Hedges’ offensive development. “He’s going to get consistent at-bats here which is really going to help his confidence.”
As for how he looks defensively, Barajas laughed.
“He completely shuts down the running game with his throwing. In fact, we tell our pitchers not to even throw over to first base, I want guys to try to run on him.”
“He’s one of the best in all of baseball with his throwing.”
El Paso appeared to be rolling when reliever Leonel Campos entered the game and struck three of the first four batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings. Campos was also particularly effective in the home opener on Friday when he struck out five batters in two innings and appeared to be on the verge of another pair of scoreless frames.
However he was pulled after giving up a double and walk, bringing in reliever Derek Eitel, who then gave up a double, threw a wild pitch which led to a single by Aces shortstop JackReinheimer who finished the game hitting .450.
The Chihuahuas went down in order in the ninth to close out the game.
Notes: RF Hunter Renfroe hit his fifth double in three days and made a spectacular throw from right field to nail an Aces runner attempting to go from first to third. Renfore looks like a totally different player from a year ago in San Antonio…Margot is hitting .156 after his first eight games…Greg Reynolds, the former second overall pick of the Colorado Rockies, got the start and pitched better than his final line indicated. Until El Paso tightens up it’s defense this will be a recurring theme.