Chihuahuas 5 - Tacoma Rainiers 4
Key Statistics: CF Manuel Margot 2-4, 2B, BB; RF Hunter Renfroe 3-4, 2B, HR (1); C Austin Hedges 1-3, BB; DH Carlos Asuaje 1-4, BB; RHP Dinelson Lamet 4.0 IP 5 H 3 R 3 ER 2 BB 2 K; RHP Jason Jester 2.2 IP H R ER 4 K; LHP Buddy Baumann (W, 1-0) 1.0 IP 2 H K; RHP Phil Maton (S,1) 1.1 IP 2 K.
Prospect Watch: Coming into the game Renfroe was not only 0-11 but had hit only .218 against Tacoma during the regular season in 55 at-bats, and he broke out of his slump in a big way. Down 4-3 in the top of the eighth Renfroe blasted a two-run home run that just cleared the left field wall to put the Chihuahuas ahead and give them the series. He was a triple short of the cycle…El Paso dropped the opener in extra innings, but then came back to win three straight games, two of them on the road.
El Paso didn’t get the great starting pitching performance from Lamet as they did from Walker Lockett and Bryan Rodriguez in the previous two games, but he kept it close…a great series by Manuel Margot, 9-16; two doubles, a home run and a pair of stolen bases in addition to his usual great defense in center…also a lot of credit should go to Carlos Asuaje who got a big two-out RBI to put El Paso within one. Asuaje is playing with a bad thumb and was limited to DH duties for the last two games of the series.
Some great performances by El Paso’s bullpen, particularly Phil Maton who came in with two outs in the eighth and a pair of runners on to get a big strikeout. He returned for the ninth, got the first two batters before hitting former Padres’ prospect Daniel Robertson to put the tying run onboard. Maton came back to get the last batter to ground out back to the him for the final out. As with Lockett, he started the year in Low-A Fort Wayne and now is being asked to get final outs for the Triple-A squad. To find out more on Maton you can read our recent profile of him on FoxSports San Diego.
El Paso has been in first place the whole year and will take on either Oklahoma City or Nashville for the PCL championship. It will be the first time a Padres’ Triple-A affiliate has made it to the finals since 1988, which they won.