While the big club struggled in New York again, their affiliates got a clean sweep Saturday as MacKenzie Gore returned and some hitters in the lower levels delivered some outstanding performances.

Mackenzie Gore in action earlier this year. (Photo: Lauren Smith/The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

Chihuahuas 4, OKC Dodgers 3 (10 innings)

Key Statistics: RF Tucupita Marcano 2-5, RBI; SS Pedro Florimon 2-4, RBI; 1B Patrick Kivlehan 2-4, BB; LHP MacKenzie Gore 2.0 IP K; LHP Nick Ramirez 2.0 IP H 3 K; RHP Mason Thompson 2.0 IP 3 H 2 R 2 ER bB

Prospect Watch: Tucupita Marcano’s 10th inning opposite-field single put the Chihuahuas ahead, and a bases-loaded walk gave El Paso the insurance they needed to hold on for a victory on Saturday night. Marcano is now 8-for-18 with a pair of walks since the Padres sent him back down. … The big story of the night though, was MacKenzie Gore‘s return to the mound after missing two turns in the rotation with blisters on his pitching hand. Gore opened the game by striking out the first batter on three pitches and didn’t look back in his two-inning outing as he faced the minimum six batters and threw 12 of 19 pitches for strikes. Sustaining his command has been the issue that keeping Gore in the minors, so the outing is a good first step for a Padres club that could us some innings from the lefty this year. … With the Chihuahuas up 2-0 in the eighth inning, reliever Mason Thompson gave up a pair of runs on three hits to snap a four-game scoreless outing streak. The 6-foot-7 righty bounced back nicely in the ninth, erasing a one-out walk to Carlos Asuaje with an inning-ending double-play. Thompson has a big fastball and can show big movement on his breaking ball, but is still looking to deliver results more consistently.

Aaron Leasher turned in a stellar start for San Antonio. (Photo: Joe Alexander)

Missions 2, Midland RockHounds 0

Key Statistics: CF Jose Azocar 1-3, BB; RF Jack Suwinski 1-3, HR (8), RBI; 3B Allen Cordoba 0-2, 2 BB; LHP Aaron Leasher (W, 3-2) 6.0 IP H BB 4 K, 2 HBP; RHP Nick Kuzia 2.0 IP 4 K; RHP Jose Quezada (S,7) 1.0 IP H.

Jack Suwinski. (Photo: Joe Alexander)

Prospect Watch: Aaron Leasher gave the Missions one of their best starts of the season, giving up just one hit over six scoreless innings. The 25-year-old lefty, the Padres’ sixth-round pick in 2017, relies on keeping batters off-balance and working to key spots in the zone. Leasher’s command wasn’t stellar Saturday as he hit a pair of batters, but 54 of his 85 pitches were for strikes and the RockHounds rarely squared him up. … Jack Suwinski‘s eighth homer moved him up to second in the Double-A Central league with a 1.030 OPS and into a tie two runs of the league home run lead. The 22-year-old, who offers solid defense in both outfield corners, is slugging .742 in San Antonio’s Wolff Stadium, a  notorious pitchers’ park. … Panamanian Allen Cordoba, who got a late start to the year because of visa issues, drew a pair of walks in his 2021 debut Saturday. The 2016 Rule 5 selection played 100 games for the Padres in 2017, but has been on a slow path back to the Majors since. After a rough 2018 campaign that was impacted by a serious car accident in the spring and a thumb injury in the summer, he slashed .301/.367/.412 in 453 plate appearances for Lake Elsinore in 2019. He is still only 25 years old. 

TinCaps 10, Lake County Captains 2

Tirso Ornelas had a league-leading three doubles on Saturday. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

Key Statistics: 3B Jonny Homza 2-3, 2B, 2 BB; RF Agustin Ruiz 1-4, HR (9) 2 RBI, BB; DH Tirso Ornelas 3-5, 3 2B, 2 RBI; SS Justin Lopez 1-5, HR (3) 2 RBI; 1B Luis Almanzar 2-4, 2B, C Adam Kerner 1-3, BB; RHP Moises Lugo 4.2 IP 2 H R ER 3 BB 5 K; RHP Felix Minjarez 2.1 IP 2 H R ER BB 3 K; RHP Brandon Komar (W, 2-2) 2.0 IP 2 K

Prospect Watch: A TinCaps busted out for 10 runs as seven of their 13 hits went for extra-bases on a big night for the offense. … Jonny Homza, 21, doubled and drew two walks to push his OPS up to .937, good for fourth in the High-A Central. The versatile defender has 17 extra-base hits in 30 games, to go along with a .398 on-base percentage. His batting average sits at .260 after being at a low of .140 on May 20. … Tirso Ornelas, 21, hit three doubles on the night, and now leads the league with 14 two-baggers. While he has yet to connect on his first homer, the lefthanded batter has been steadily making better contact this month. … Agustin Ruiz‘s ninth homer of the year moved him into a tie for second on the circuit. Often seen as the organization’s other righty-throwing, lefty-batting outfielder from Mexico, but this year has been something of a breakout for Ruiz. After hitting just five homers in his first three professional seasons, Ruiz has nine in 28 games this season. Encouragingly, his strikeout rate has dropped off significantly this month as well. … Moises Lugo needed 75 pitches to get through 4.2 innings, but he kept a talented Lake County offense in check for most of the night. The 22-year-old Dominican hurler has a 3.27 in his first year of full-season ball.

Joshua Mears blasted his second home run in as many nights. (Photo: Mike Wilson)

Storm 8, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 6

Key Statistics: 2B Jarryd Dale 2-4, 2B; SS Euribiel Angeles 3-5, RBI; Cf Robert Hassell III 2-4, HR (4), 4 RBI; RF Joshua Mears 2-3, HR (3), RBI, BB; LHP Gabe Morales 2.0 IP 4 H 4 R 4 ER Bb 4 K 2 HR; RHP Chase Walter (W, 1-0) 1.0 IP H 2 K; Jose Geraldo 2.0 IP H 2 K

Prospect Watch: The Storm were down 6-2 in the bottom of the fifth, then Robert Hassell III hit a three-run home run to right-center and Joshua Mears followed a batter later with a solo shot to dead center to even the score. Lake Elsinore added runs in the seventh and eighth to complete the system sweep. .. At 19, Hassell now has a slash line of .304/.392/.526 with 20 walks against 30 strikeouts, and 19 extra-base hits in 33 games. He’s stolen 12 bases in 13 attempts for good measure. He is second in the Low-A West league in doubles and third in steals. … As good as Hassell has been, the organization has to be excited that Mears, San Diego’s other key outfield prospect in Lake Elsinore, might be getting on track with his second home run in two days. Mears, 19, has struggled to make contact, but the 6-foot-3, 230 pounder has a ton of power to dream on. … Chase Walter, another big human being at 6-foot-7 who the Padres signed out of Western Carolina University as an undrafted free agent last summer, got his first professional win with a clean eighth inning of work. The righty has struck out five in his first three innings for the Storm. 

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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