Cody Decker kept up his torrid hitting on Thursday night, contributing to El Paso's fifth win in a row by hitting a home run in his fourth straight game. The homer boosts his organization-leading total to 26, and the four consecutive games is a new team record, as was noted on-air by radio broadcaster Tim Hagerty before Decker even hit it. Decker wasn't the only Chihuahua wielding a big bat; everyone in the lineup except for catcher Adam Moore got on base at least once as they banded together to overcome an early deficit that lasted most of the game.
The Chihuahuas and starting pitcher Robbie Erlin got off to a rough start. The Bees scored four runs, capped by a three-run homer by Brennan Boesch, before El Paso got their first at-bat. The score remained 4-0 until the bottom of the fourth, when Yeison Asencio put the Chihuahuas on the board with a leadoff blast on the tenth pitch of the at-bat. After right fielder Jeff Francoeur walked and got picked off, and Jonathan Galvez flew out to center, Decker struck. His shot brought El Paso within two runs, 4-2.
Salt Lake tacked on another run in the top of the seventh, but the Chihuahuas were unfazed. Their radio crew played Hakuna Matata when returning from commercial for the bottom of the inning, and indeed, El Paso's offense had no worries. Decker led off the inning and took his base after Cam Bedrosian drilled him right at the bottom of his numbers. The Chihuahuas loaded the bases on walks by Ryan Jackson and Rico Noel before all sorts of wonderful broke loose. Jace Peterson singled home Decker and Jackson, and Noel came home on Boesch's throwing error on the play. In a heads-up move, Peterson took third when he saw it was uncovered due to the third baseman retrieving the errant ball which took an odd carom, then beat him to the bag in a footrace. The score now tied, Bedrosian gave way to Vinnie Pestano. He did a bit better, getting two outs, but in the process he allowed three more runs to cross the plate by way of a hit-by-pitch, a walk, and two singles. When the smoke cleared, the Chihuahuas sent 11 batters to the plate (well, nine batters, two of whom batted twice) in the inning,scored six runs, and held an 8-5 lead.
El Paso relievers Dennis O`Grady and Chris Rearick traded zeros with their Salt Lake counterpart Michael Kohn, leaving the Chihuahuas three outs away from victory. Usual closer Jerry Sullivan had the night off, so Rearick stayed came in. Manager Pat Murphy thanked him for his work after he gave up a leadoff single, and Chris Smith came in to try to shut the door. He didn't. He got a fielder's choice out, then gave up a single to Tony Campana and a walk to Shawn O`Malley before getting a hook of his own. Stephen Kohlscheen, who came to the organization in the Chris Denorfia trade, was summoned to deal with loaded bases and the go-ahead run at the plate. He gave up an RBI single to J.B. Shuck and allowed another run on a sacrifice fly. Now ahead by only one run, Kohlscheen finally retired C.J. Cron for the twenty-seventh out, giving the Chihuahuas an 8-7 win.
Jace Peterson led El Paso with three hits, and threw in his eighteenth stolen base of the year. It was his twelfth with El Paso; he also stole four with the AA San Antonio Missions and two with the Padres. Peterson drove in a pair of runs, as did Yeison Asencio, who had the club's only other multi-hit game. Asencio and Decker each scored twice, and Ryan Jackson led everyone with four walks in his return to the team.
These two teams will square off again tomorrow; same place, same time. The home team will be sending Juan Pablo Oramas to the hill; the Bees are countering with old friend Randy Wolf.