The El Paso Chihuahuas had a two-run ninth-inning comeback to tie the Tacoma Rainiers but eventually lost 6-5 in 12 innings in Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League playoffs Wednesday night.
It was the first extra-inning postseason game in Chihuahuas’ team history.
The Rainiers scored three times on five hits against Frank Garces in the second, but the Chihuahuas got within one over the next three innings on an RBI single by Diego Goris and a solo home run by Manuel Margot. Trailing 5-2 in the sixth inning, the Chihuahuas got back within two when Tacoma shortstop Tyler Smith dropped a pop up with two runners on.
The Chihuahuas were down 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth when Nick Noonan and Manuel Margot hit doubles on back-to-back pitches to get within one and put the tying run on second base with no outs. After Hunter Renfroe walked, Austin Hedges hit a hard ground ball to Tacoma second baseman Mike Freeman, who flipped to second base for the inning’s second out.
As the shortstop Smith tried to turn a game-ending double play, Renfroe’s hard slide forced a high throw and caused the tying run to score with two outs in the ninth inning.
El Paso had opportunities in extra innings, including having the winning run at second with one out in the bottom of the 11th, but Tacoma reliever Al Alburquerque retired Renfroe and Hedges to end the inning.
The Rainiers strung together three straight singles in the 12th, including an RBI single to left field by Zach Shank, the eventual game-winning hit.
Margot went 4-for-6 with all four hits coming after the fourth inning. The Chihuahuas went 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position in the loss.
Team Records: Tacoma (1-0), El Paso (0-1)
Next Game: Thursday at 6:35 p.m. Pacific Coast League playoffs at Southwest University Park. Tacoma RHP Cody Martin (0-0, -.–) vs. El Paso RHP Walker Lockett (0-0, -.–). Game coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com
Tacoma 6 El Paso 5 – Wednesday – 12 Innings
WP: Alburquerque (1-0)
LP: Jester (0-1)
Photos by Andres Acosta