A roaring crowd of 9,305 fans witnessed the El Paso Chihuahuas overcome a 4 run deficit to avoid elimination and win their first-ever playoff game by defeating the Fresno Grizzlies 6 to 4 Friday night.
It was the bottom of the 5th inning, Chihuahuas down by one, when left fielder, Jake Goebbert hit deep into center field allowing two runners to score and take a 5-4 lead and the crowd would erupt.
“That was like playing for the San Francisco Giants in the playoffs. That was about the most electric crowd I’ve ever been a part of,” Goebbert said. “I was in San Diego when Tim Lincecum threw a no hitter and that rivals it. It was incredible.”
“To win a playoff game is hard enough, but to score six runs in an inning, I don’t think we’ve done it too many times,” Goebbert added. “The whole game, Robbie (Erlin) pitched great, he held them to single after single and minimized damage, the defense played well…to score six runs in that inning I think really put a dagger into the night, hopefully we can carry that momentum into tomorrow.”
The Chihuahuas would add another run to secure the lead for the remainder of the game. Pitcher Robbie Erlin, allowed four runs before the Chihuahuas could get anything going offensively in the fifth.
“Robbie was excellent…he never broke. Got us six innings which is huge and then we can get to our guys,” Chihuahuas manager, Jamie Quirk said. “The offense, (pitcher Mark) Appel was very good, then he lost it and we took advantage of it. Then you get a break with the error, that’s how you win games like this, you get a break once in a while.”
An error by Fresno’s first baseman, Jon Singleton, allowed two Chihuahuas runners to score in what would turn out to be a six-run 5th inning for El Paso.
Decker again credited the crowd for igniting the team’s rally at the bottom of the 5th inning.
“They were loud, it was awesome, it was everything I hoped it would be,” Decker said. “I would have liked to have hit two RBI doubles for them to hear a Cody chant as opposed to me just staying in the game from getting hit, but that was still pretty cool.”
Players have little time to celebrate and understand that the series is still led by Fresno, who would only need one more win to send the Chihuahuas into a vacation for the Fall.
“Hopefully we can ride this wave again tomorrow.” Decker said. “We still have a lot of catching up to do, they’re one win away, we have to win them both… it’s not an easy task, but there’s a lot of talent in that clubhouse.”
The Chihuahuas will again attempt to avoid elimination as the series with Fresno moves to game four, Saturday at 7:05 p.m.