It was an epic battle at Southwest University Ballpark on Tuesday night: a real eye-for-an-eye, run-for-a-run fight. Fortunately for the Dogs, they turned the bats on late in the game to give Sacramento the black eye with 12-11 El Paso win.
The El Paso Chihuahuas and the Sacramento River Cats are nowhere near each other in terms of stats: the ‘Cats, a barely .500 team and El Paso leading in several offensive categories and leading the PCL-Southern division with a 47-29 record.
But Tuesday night, they were scrapping like, well, like ‘Cats and Dogs.
It was all El Paso through the 4th inning, the Dogs led the River Cats 4-0. But then a couple of softly hit singles piled up in favor of Sacramento to deliver an RBI and set the stage for shortstop Abiatal Avelino (.278 BA).
Avelino came to the plate with two ‘Cats on and nailed one to the GECU Green Seats where it might have hit a fan. The home run tied the game and drew staff to the area. Before the staff even cleared, another bomb landed within a few feet of the first home run. Just like that, the ‘Cats led 5-4.
One team scored and the other responded. El Paso answered in their half of the 4th inning with an RBI single by first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez (.254 BA) to tie it at 5.
And so it went, blow by blow. Sacramento scored two more and El Paso answered with three, El Paso 8-7 in the bottom of the 5th.
The ‘Cats scored two more runs off a broken-bat single to center and a play that got their manager tossed. First baseman Austin Slater hit the ball to second baseman Esteban Quiroz who tried to tag the runner coming into second base. That runner, Chris Shaw, slightly angled his shoulders and stepped around Quiroz to avoid the tag.
The umpire called him out for running out of the base path. That was enough for Sacramento manager Dave Brundage to run out to the umpire for an explanation. What he ended up getting was a free ticket back to the clubhouse.
The teams were tied, 9-9 by the end of the 7th inning.
The Dogs were down by one run in the bottom of the 8th inning until shortstop Seth Mejias-Brean (.324 BA) shot a screaming groundball past third base and down the line into left field to score outfielder Michael Gettys, the game was tied again.
A wild pitch with a man on third delivered the go-ahead run but the Chihuahuas had a little more to give. Left fielder Matthew Batten (.319 BA) earned a walk and made it to third on a long single, men on the corners for the Dogs. Quiroz (.281 BA) singled him in for the twelfth run.
Of course, the ‘Cats tried to come back and did manage to score one more but just ran out of lives: El Paso 12-11.
The winning pitcher was Andres Munoz (3-2, 3.95 ERA). The losing pitcher was Williams Jerez (2-3, 4.08 ERA). Gerardo Reyes (2.59 ERA) and his fastball in the upper 90s, earned his third save.
Next Game: Wednesday, 7:05 pm at Southwest University Park. Sacramento LHP Conner Menez (0-0, 3.31) vs. El Paso LHP Dietrich Enns (7-5, 5.88). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.
El Paso 12 Sacramento 11 – Tuesday | Box Score | Team Records: Sacramento (39-38), El Paso (48-29)
WP: Munoz (3-2) | LP: Jerez (2-3) | S: Reyes (3) | Time: 3:03 | Attn: 6,997
Author: Larry Monarrez | Photog: Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post