The Storm and Chihuahuas won the two late games to salvage what had been an ugly day of baseball in the Padres system. El Paso had a few unlikely heroes, while Lake Elsinore had another massive blast from their top performer.
Chihuahuas 9, Tacoma Rainiers 4 (12 innings)
Key Statistics: 1B Wil Myers 1-for-4, HR (1), 2 RBI; RF Matt Beaty 1-for-1, R, HBP, BB; C Luis Campusano 1-for-4, R, 2 BB; CF Jose Azocar 2-for-6, HR (2), 3 RBI; SS Eguy Rosario 2-for-5, 2B, HBP, 2 R, SB (16); 3B Kervin Pichardo 2-for-6, HR (1), 2 RBI; RHP Pedro Avila 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 4 K
Prospect Watch: After losing a couple of close games, the Chihuahuas failed to hold another lead late, as left-handed reliever Ray Kerr surrendered a game-tying leadoff homer in the ninth. The game remained tied until the 12th when former Padre Nick Margevicius gave up home runs to two players who had a combined one homer above Double-A this year. With the Manfred Man on, Margevicius walked Luis Campusano to face center fielder Jose Azocar who hit his second home run of the year. Three batters later, Kervin Pichardo connected on a two-run shot to put the game away. RHP Alek Jacob, coming off the worst outing of his professional career, pitched a perfect 12th with two strikeouts to finish the game off. … After going hitless in his first three games at Triple-A, Azocar has now hit in four straight with five extra-base hits. … Before the late-inning heroics, the big hit was a two-run homer from a rehabbing Wil Myers off former big leaguer and top prospect Justus Sheffield. It was his first since joining El Paso. … Matt Beaty rejoined El Paso for the second time after re-aggravating a shoulder injury that has kept him out since April. He reached base in all three trips to the plate including a walk, single, and a hit-by-pitch. … LHP Tom Cosgrove got the win after pitching scoreless 10th and 11th innings without allowing a hit. While he had a few bad outings in Triple-A, his overall numbers for 2022 are terrific. Between El Paso and San Antonio, Cosgrove has an 8-1 record with a 2.95 ERA. In 36.2 innings pitched, he has racked up 57 strikeouts. Opposing batters are hitting just .157 off of the former Manhattan lefty.
Roster Move: Infielder Jack Stronach was sent up to El Paso from Fort Wayne to give the Chihuahuas a little extra bench depth.
Midland Rockhounds 3, Missions 2
Key Stats: RHP Nolan Watson 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, BB, 2 K; LF Tirso Ornelas 3-for-5, R, RBI; 1B Yorman Rodriguez 2-for-4, RBI, 2B; RF Ripken Reyes 2-for-3, R, BB, 3B Webster Rivas 1-for-3, 2 BB
Prospect Watch: The Missions also blew a one-run lead late, as Carlos Belen gave up runs in the seventh and eighth take the loss. … Left fielder Tirso Ornelas led the way with three hits to break up a 1-for-14 slump, but he is still nearly two weeks removed from his last extra-base-hit. He’s shown flashes this year of the bat-to-ball skills to be an above-average hitter. We talked to Tirso as well as his manager and hitting coach for an upcoming piece about what exactly they are trying to do to unlock his power. … If you are someone who casually glances at the box score, you might be confused to see former big league catcher Webster Rivas playing third base, but, the Missions are rotating three of their catchers to other positions. The Missions have focused on building positional versatility all year. Manager Phillip Wellman noted to us last week, “my job is to help them get to the big leagues. A catcher that can also play third and first [Rivas and Fernandez] or a second baseman that can play third, short, and right field [Ripken Reyes] suddenly has a better shot at making it to the majors. Positional flexibility is huge now.” Seeing players do whatever it takes to realize their dream makes it hard not to cheer for them a bit more.
Peoria Chiefs 4, TinCaps 1
Key Stats: LHP Robert Gasser (L, 4-9) 4 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K; SS Max Ferguson 1-for-4, 3B, BB, SB (3); CF Robert Hassell III 0-for-5, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps didn’t blow a late lead; they struggled offensively, losing in Peoria, Illinois. The team went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base. The only bright spot was Max Ferguson who tripled scored the only run, walked, and stole a base. It was Ferguson’s third stolen base as a member of the TinCaps and first in nearly three weeks. He had 51 steals in Lake Elsinore. Of course, it makes it hard to steal when you struggle to reach base; Ferguson has hit .139/.232/.306 over the last month. With Esteury Ruiz playing in San Diego, Ferguson has a chance to reclaim the minors’ stolen base lead, if he can reach base. … By striking out six in four innings, Robert Gasser reclaimed the Midwest League lead with 115in 90.1 innings, but the contact the Chiefs made was hard. The 23-year-old lefty has allowed four earned runs in back-to-back starts and now has a 4.18 ERA on the season.
Storm 8, Stockton Ports 3
Key Stats: CF James Wood 1-for-3, HR (9), 2 RBI, BB; 2B Nerwillian Cedeno 2-for-3, R, RBI, BB; 1B Carlos Luis 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 2B; RF Justin Farmer 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI; SS Wyatt Hoffman 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB (4); LHP Jesus Gonzalez 6.1 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 2 K
Prospect Watch: James Wood continued to do James Wood things on Wednesday night, launching a mammoth shot to center for his ninth homer in 46 games on the year. Wood has demonstrated serious power to go along with plus-speed and a great eye at the plate. His .443 OBP – especially impressive for a 19-year-old in his first full season of professional baseball – would be good for second in the league if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. If you want to see him in Lake Elsinore, go soon, because he may not be there for a lot longer. … It was a double-double night for 1B Carlos Luis, who has been putting up an under-the-radar strong season. The 22-year-old is hitting .309/.384/.443, showing an ability to get to his raw power more consistently with a willingness to draw a walk. It’s been a coming out party for the big lefty in his second pass at the Cal League, and he is another player who could possibly use a challenge at a higher level. … Left-handed starter Jesus Gonzalez held the Ports to two runs in his stingiest start since June 19. Gonzalez had his sinker working, collecting 12 of his 19 outs via ground balls. Gonzalez does not have overpowering stuff, so relies on sitting low in the zone and opposing hitters driving his sinker straight into the ground.
Roster Move: Left-handed reliever Ryan Och’s rehab assignment was transferred to the Storm from the ACL. He was pitching out of the TinCaps bullpen when he hit the IL in late May.
ACL Padres did not play on Wednesday. They carry a 16-19 record into the upcoming stretch of games. Look for some of the draftees and non-drafted free agent signings to start appearing in games in Peoria over the next few days. Change is exciting, but hopefully a constant will be the good health for SS Jackson Merrill and CF Sammy Zavala who have incredible hype surrounding them but have struggled to stay healthy this year.