Chihuahuas 7 - Tacoma Rainiers 0
Key Statistics: SS Jose Rondon 2-4 HR (1), 2 RBI; C Austin Hedges 3-4, RBI; CF Manuel Margot 1-4, BB, SB; 3B Nick Noonan 3-4, 2 2B, HR (1), RBI; DH Carlos Asuaje 2-5, 2 RBI; RHP Bryan Rodriguez (W, 1-0) 5.0 IP 2 H 4 BB 4 K; LHP Kyle McGrath 2.0 IP H 2 K; LHP Jose Torres 2.0 IP 4 K.
Prospect Watch: For the second straight night El Paso, one of the best offensive teams in the minor leagues, rode another outstanding starting pitching performance and a shutdown bullpen, to take the series’ lead 2-1. El Paso’s pitchers held the Rainiers to only three hits.
If the Chihuahuas win tomorrow, they will win the series and move onto the PCL championship round. If they make it, it will be the first Padres’ Triple-A team since 1988 to make the championship round. For those of you that can remember, it was a Las Vegas team featuring Bip Roberts, Sandy Alomar and a right-handed pitcher named Kevin Towers.
Hedges put El Paso on the board in the first with a two-out double to plate Margot, giving starter Bryan Rodriguez the early lead. But the big blow was Rondon’s two-run home run in the second that just cleared the left-center field wall in the second inning…Margot is having a great series, 7-13 with a stolen base…Noonan also had a very good night scoring all the way from second base on an error by the Rainiers’ shortstop and blasting a solo home run to go along with two doubles…it was the best outing by Rodriguez in some time. In three of his last four starts he had given up four earned runs or more…Hedges was 1-10 in the first two games and had a big night tonight. Interesting tidbit during the El Paso radio broadcast Tim Hagerty, the play-by-play man, noticed that Hedges was directing the defensive positioning of the outfield in addition to calling the game…Hunter Renfroe is 0-11 so far in the series and hit .218 against Tacoma during the regular season in 55 at-bats.
Former Padres’ prospect Wade LeBlanc took the mound for Tacoma, his first action since August 24. LeBlanc was 3-0 for the Mariners with a 3-0 record and 4.50 before being designated for assignment. The Rainiers also feature Daniel Robertson, 30, and Mike Baxter, 31, both of whom played in the San Diego system
MiLB.com rated El Paso as the top prospect team of the Triple-A teams in the playoffs...An example of how Triple-A baseball works. Both teams flew a commercial flights this morning from El Paso to Phoenix, took a connecting flights to Seattle and then had a forty minute bus ride to Tacoma. Then of course, its time to play ball.
For the box score of tonight's game, please click here.