It might have been “Harry Potter” night on Saturday at Southwest University Park, but there was no more magic for the El Paso Chihuahuas in their 5-4 loss to the Tacoma Rainiers.
The loss was a bit of a surprise to most of the 9,559 muggles who were undoubtedly there to watch the playoff-bound Dogs win their 18th consecutive home game, but instead saw the Rainiers conjure up a 10th-inning rally.
Tacoma scored four of their five runs via the long ball. The first home run came in the third inning and was a monster that left so fast and high over the Peter Piper Pizza deck in left field, that most of the people in that area seemed unaware a rocket was hit toward them, Tacoma 2-0.
The fiery Chihuahuas came back in their half of the fourth inning and put up four runs of their own to take the lead. The first two runs came from a Francisco Mejia (.301 BA) two-run blast into the Big Dog House in right field and tied the game at 2.
Third baseman Dusty Coleman (.201 BA) came up big with a blooper to center field that scored two more runs for the Dogs, El Paso 4-2.
Tacoma whittled away at the lead with a home run over the right field corner in the sixth inning, and tied it up in the eighth inning with another blast into the Big Dog House in right field.
The Dogs were muzzled in the ninth and were forced into extra innings.
Tacoma started out the 10th inning with a runner on second base – as per the new MILB rule intended to expedite the game. One pitch by Chihuahuas reliever Kyle McGrath (2.75 ERA) to the lead-off man Gordon Beckham (.303 BA) brought that runner home, Tacoma 5-4.
El Paso seemed destined to win this game, too. But, well, the magic was not there. The Chihuahuas loaded the bases with no outs in their half of the 10th inning but the next two batters failed to get the ball out of the infield and the game ended with a 4-3 double play.
The winning pitcher was Mike Morin (5-2) and the losing pitcher was McGrath (7-3). Ryan Garton earned his third save despite loading the bases with a passed ball and a walk.
Story by Larry Monarrez – El Paso Herald Post | Stats/Video courtesy EP Chihuahuas
Tacoma 5 El Paso 4 – Saturday – 10 Innings :WP: Morin (5-2) | LP: McGrath (7-3) | S: Garton (4) | Time: 2:54 | Attn: 9,559
Box Score | Team Records: Tacoma (64-72), El Paso (81-55)
Next Game: Sunday, 6:05 pm at Southwest University Park. Tacoma LHP David Rollins (0-2, 7.88) vs. El Paso RHP Cal Quantrill (2-1, 3.81). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.
— El Paso Chihuahuas (@epchihuahuas) September 2, 2018