Playoffs Game 1: Tacoma Rainiers 6 – Chihuahuas 5 (12 innings)
Key Stats: LHP Frank Garces 5.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 7 K; CF Manuel Margot 4-6, 2B, HR, 2 RS, 2 RBI; 2B Carlos Asuaje 2-5, BB; RF Hunter Renfroe 0-4, RS, 2BB, 4 K.
Prospect Watch: El Paso was down by one in the ninth. Renfroe had just walked to put runners on first and second and one out. Austin Hedges, who was 0-6 on the day, hit what should have been a game-ending double play ball to second, but a good hard slide from Hunter Renfroe caused an errant throw, allowing Manuel Margot to come in from second to tie the game and force the game into extra innings.
Margot showed why he is a top prospect going 4-6 with a double and his first home run since August 4. He demonstrated his speed on the basepaths and in the outfield, and appeared to be playing on a separate level compared to the rest of the team… Hunter Renfroe on the other hand had a night to forget. While he did walk twice, scored a run, and helped force in the game tying run, he also struggled mightily at the plate. With two on and one out in the eleventh inning, Tacoma brought in former big leaguer Al Alburquerque to face Renfroe. Renfroe swung wildly at the first few pitches before taking a called strike three right down the middle. He failed to put the ball in play in any of his six at bats.
When a team clinches a week early they have the time to set up their rotation exactly as they want for the postseason. Which made it an interesting choice that the Chihuahuas turned to former Padre, 26-year old Frank Garces, for the start. This was a deliberate move as Garces was supposed to start on Sunday, but instead pitched only an inning to keep him on track for today’s start. He was knocked around in just 5.1 innings before newly promoted Kyle McGrath was able to put out the fire. The bullpen of McGrath, Phil Maton, and Buddy Baumann threw a combined 4.2 innings allowing two hits and five strikeouts.
The box score of the game is here.