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Chihuahuas’ bats come alive, end losing streak

Ruby Cerino

The El Paso Chihuahuas scored more runs than they had in their last six games combined as they beat the Fresno Grizzlies 15-9 in front of 8,586 tonight at Southwest University Park.

“It felt good, we needed this win,” said Chihuahuas baseball first baseman Cody Decker.

After starting the season 20-11, El Paso came into tonight’s game with a six-game losing streak that put them on the verge of a .500 record.

The offense that began the season red-hot had cooled down significantly, thanks in part to the call-ups of key players like Abraham Almonte and Austin Hedges. During the six-game losing streak the Chihuahuas only scored more than two runs in one game.

Tonight, the offense came alive.

After two runs in the first inning, El Paso seem got itself into a world of trouble when starting pitcher James Needy allowed eight runs in the fourth. With the score 9-2 in favor of the visitors, the Chihuahuas seemed headed for another loss, but they responded in great fashion.

With a huge six-run fourth inning and an even bigger seven-run seventh, the Chihuahuas completed the unlikely comeback.

“That’s gonna go down in my book as one of the best comeback wins I’ve ever been a part of,” Decker said. “That was a truly fantastic performance from the entire team.”

Decker went three for four from the plate including a three-run bomb to left field in the bottom of the fourth that put the Chihuahuas within a run of the Grizzlies.

Catcher Rocky Gale, who has taken over the tools of ignorance since Hedges got called up to San Diego also came up big in tonight’s win. The 27-year-old Portland was a factor both offensively and defensively. He caught two runners attempting to steal second and went 3-5 at the plate bringing in three runs and scoring two of his own.

“That’s what we’ve come to expect and we see it day after day,” said Chihuahuas hitting coach Jody Davis. “Defensively he is solid and he goes to home plate and battles.”

After the nine hits and eight runs allowed by Needy, relievers Steven Kohlscheen, Daniel McCutchen and Scott Elbert combined for just five hits and one run in six innings of work.

Padres’ centerfielder Melvin Upton Jr. began his rehab assignment with the Chihuahuas tonight going 2-5 at the plate. He is expected to be with the team approximately a week and a half and will DH in tomorrow morning’s game.

The Chihuahuas will finish off the home stand and series with Fresno tomorrow morning with first pitch scheduled for 11:05 a.m. El Paso left handed pitcher Robbie Erlin is scheduled to take the mound against the Grizzlies’ right-hander Asher Wojciechowski.

El Paso remains in second place of the PCL Southern Division 4.5 games back of the Las Vegas 51’s.

Consistency may be the toughest thing to find in minor league baseball, with all the fluidity that the rosters may experience, but the Chihuahuas have shown they can play like a first place team.

Tonight was one of those times, when they flexed their muscle and showed they can contend for a spot in the post season, all while assisted by the most constant part of their game—their fans.

“I love it here, these fans are great,” Decker said. “It’s a Monday night, do you know what Triple-A is like in most stadiums on Monday night? No one’s there…This town loves baseball.”

Luis Gonzalez may be reached at [email protected].

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Chihuahuas’ bats come alive, end losing streak