Matt Batten has played all over the field and in many different uniforms with El Paso this season. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

EL PASO — The Reno Aces were beating the El Paso Chihuahuas 8-3 before the game was called and declared official with one out in the ninth inning giving the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate their second victory in the first three games of the series.

Brett Kennedy, making his second appearance since rejoining the club from an injury and a stint in San Antonio had a rough first inning. After a giving up a one-out walk and two singles, it looked like he might get out of the inning down just one when he induced a grounder, but shortstop Pedro Florimon threw away the return throw on the would-be double play.

Kennedy gave himself another chance to get away without further damage, jumping ahead of the next batter 0-2. But when he left a 91 mph fastball up and in, Juniel Querecuto jumped it for a soaring homer over the right-center wallto make it 4-0.

The right-hander was able to bounce back and complete five innings on 93 pitches. After the first inning, he only allowed one run on three hits.  As compared to previous years, when he relied heavily on his four-seam fastball, he mixed in more changeups and sliders.

El Paso made a game of it by adding a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth, but Reno put it out of reach in the sixth with a pair of runs before the downpour came with one out in the ninth inning.

Center fielder Jose Azocar continues to swing a hot bat after his promotion from Double-A San Antonio. The Venezuelan was 1-3 with a double and a walk, and played a solid defensive center field.  He was a minor league free agent signee from the Detroit Tigers in the offseason with his last stop in Double-A Erie where he hit .286/.317/.399. His biggest improvement from 2019 has been jumping his walk rate from 3.9% with SeaWolves to 10.2% in Double-A San Antonio in 343 plate appearances.  

Matt Batten and Taylor Kohlwey each had a pair of hits on the night. Kohlwey, after hitting .269/.393/.388 in San Antonio, has particularly enjoyed the move to Triple-A. The lefty’s line has risen to .335/.387/.464 while he continues to play all three outfield spots and first base. In his five year career, the former 21st-round draft pick from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has hit .275/.358/.398 since joining the organization in 2016.

Batten, who was in left field Friday, started this one at second base and finished the night at shortstop. The 26-year-old has also had a good year at the plate in addition to showing his usual defensive versatility.  At the plate, he came into the game with a slash line of .289/.376/.389. This season he has had at least one hit in 32 of his last 41 games including a season-long 11-game hitting streak.

El Paso Notes:  The biggest news of the day was that right-hander Adrian Martinez joined El Paso from San Antonio where he has been on fire for the last two months and earned MadFriars Player of the Month in July.  Overall, the 24-year old native of Mexicali was 7-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 80.2 innings in his first taste of Double-A. He is a sinker/slider pitcher with a developing changeup and his sinker sits in the low 90s. If the organization is looking for an internal option for a starting pitcher at the big league level, he might be the best choice at this point. How well he does against more experienced hitters at the Triple-A level will be a good challenge for him. In a corresponding move, San Diego sent right-handed reliever Sam McWilliams, 25, who was claimed off of waivers from the New York Mets in early June, down to San Antonio. The 6-foot-7 McWilliams has a big fastball and struck out 25 batters in 22.1 innings for EL Paso, but he also walked 27 en route to a 10.07 ERA.

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.

One Comment

Leave a Reply