EL PASO, Texas— The Chihuahuas did not get off to a good start as right-handed pitcher Kyle Lloyd gave up seven hits and walked four despite four strikeouts in two frames to put El Paso in a 7-0 hole.
Then the bullpen shut down the Las Vegas 51s.
“Our pitching came through and really picked us up,” said left fielder Nick Schulz who was in the middle of the offensive action with a double, three RBI, a single and a walk. “I think Michael [Mariot] was a big part of it because he came in and put zeros up on the board, especially after we scored four in the third.”
Mariot, signed away from the Phillies organization as a minor league free agent in the offseason, and three other relievers allowed only four singles and one walk in route to holding the opposition scoreless.
That gave the offense a chance to get back in the game.
The Chihuahuas tied the game at the end of four, went ahead in the fifth and then applied the coup de grace in the sixth inning, plating three runs.
The Chihuahuas have now come back from a seven-run deficit three times in team history.
Schulz attributed the team’s success to staying in the moment.
“You have to try to stay locked in. After you have been playing for awhile, and I know it’s a cliche, but anything can happen,” said Schulz. “All of us have played for a long time, and to play this many games, you have to be able to focus when you are between the lines. You can’t start letting your mind wander.”
Shortstop Javier Guerra, 22, was once again one of the offensive stars of the game. He tripled in back-to-back plate appearances and scored both times. He then stuck out in his next two at-bats. Despite 15 strikeouts in ten games, he is hitting .344 with eight extra-base hits and five walks.
“He is as relaxed as I have ever seen him and hasn’t been missing his pitches,” said Schulz on Guerra’s fast start. “I think the new environment has worked for him and getting off to a fast start was big for him.”
“So much of this game is about confidence. Javy has a lot of talent, and it’s fun to see it starting to come together.”
El Paso Prospect Watch: Second baseman Luis Urias has gone hitless in the past two games with three strikeouts, and no walks despite making solid contact. … Rightfielder Franmil Reyes was 1-for-3 with two walks for the second day in a row. The big numbers aren’t there yet, but after watching him play for a number of years, his approach at the plate looks as good as I’ve ever seen it. He hasn’t swung at a bad pitch in two games. … Third baseman Diego Goris, who was reacquired from the White Sox at the end of Spring Training, is hitting .391 and Schulz finished the game with a .364 batting average.