EL PASO, Texas — The El Paso Margaritas went down for the second day in a row as a big four-run first inning by their Copa de la Diversión rivals the Fresno Tacos led to a 7-4 defeat on Sunday.
Left-hander Dillon Overton got the start and went three and two-thirds innings. The good news is he struck out eight batters against only a pair of walks, but also allowed nine hits and five earned runs.
Matt Batten‘s inside-the-park home run in the middle of the Margaritas’ four-run fourth inning was the highlight of the game for El Paso – other than the spectacular lime green uniforms the team sports as part of their participation in MiLB’s focus on the role of Latino culture in baseball.
After first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez homered with two outs, shortstop Seth Mejias-Brean doubled to bring up Batten. When Batten drilled an 0-1 pitch deep into the right-field corner, he seemingly exploded out of the box. The relay throw to home plate was not even close.
“That was nice especially coming from him because he works so hard,” said El Paso manager Edwin Rodriguez said of the club’s first inside-the-park homer of the season. “Wherever I want him to play – anywhere in the infield and now the outfield too – he does it. He never complains.
“He’s having a pretty good year at the plate too and he’s doing well. Everybody loves him.”
Batten has a slash line of .320/.373/.452 and has seen time at every position in the infield and now is starting to log time in left field as well.
With his team back in it, right-handed reliever Eric Yardley continued his season-long strong performance.
Yardley came in with two outs in the fourth inning and got a strikeout and then threw the next two innings without allowing a hit or a walk to go along with three strikeouts.
“He throws strikes, immediately when he comes in the game,” said Rodriguez. “With the angles that he is throwing at and the movement he generates it is very tough to pick up.
“He’s a horse. The other day we had to bring him in during the second inning and he threw four innings. It looks like he is just playing catch with the catcher. He always wants the ball.”
The 28-year old Seattle native is, with Amarillo’s Kaz Makita, one of two sidearmers in the Padres’ upper minors. He leads El Paso relievers with 46.2 innings pitched and has put up a solid 3.09 ERA with opponents hitting .263 in the play-station environments on the PCL.