Oklahoma City Dodgers 9, Chihuahuas 8

Key Statistics:  CF Luis Liberato 2-4, GS HR (18), 4 RBI; SS C.J. Hinojosa 2-4, RBI, BB; 3B Matthew Batten 0-5, BB, SB (14); RHP Reiss Knehr 3 IP, 4 H 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K; RHP Michel Baez 1 IP 2 BB, 3 K; LHP Aaron Leather 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 4 K; LHP Luke Westphal (L, 2-2) 0.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB; RHP Jesse Scholtens 1 IP, 2 H, 3 K

C.J. Hinojosa has had a nice year at the plate. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Prospect Watch: Down 4-0 in the fifth inning, El Paso tied up the game on the road in Oklahoma City with Luis Liberato’s grand slam to center field and then went ahead in the sixth inning on first baseman Kyle Martin’s sacrifice fly.  Unfortunately, five runs in the bottom of the seventh gave the OKC Dodgers the win despite the visitors’ three runs in the ninth. … With his 18 home runs, Liberato is the Chihuahuas’ active leader with the promotion of Eguy Rosario (21) and the trade of Brent Rooker (19). The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Dominican left-hander has a 1.007 OPS at home but is at just .730 on the road, and 12 of his 18 home runs have come at  Southwest University Park. … Former University of Texas star C.J. Hinojosa, 27, was on base three times amid his best month, hitting .329/.421/.427 while offering versatility on the infield. … Matthew Batten, 27, was hitless but stole a base in his first game back with the Chihuahuas after almost two months in the big leagues. The 32nd-round draft pick from Quinnipiac in 2017 logged only 22 plate appearances in his time with the Padres, but saw action at five positions, including two mop-up pitching appearances. For El Paso, he’s having his strongest season since 2018 with a .293/.392/.493 line. … Reiss Knehr made his first start in a month and was charged with four earned runs over three innings. After he had a stellar July, PCL opponents have plated 10 runs (nine earned) against the righty in 10.2 innings this month.

Chihuahuas Notes:  Catcher Matias Polanco was transferred from the ACL roster to provide more catching depth after Luis Campusano‘s promotion to the big league club.

On Star Wars night, Joshua Mears sent a baseball into a galaxy far, far away. (Photo: Rey Holguin)

Midland RockHounds 5, Missions 4

Key Statistics:  DH Juan Fernandez 2-4, RBI; CF Joshua Mears 1-3 HR (2), 2 RBI, BB; C Webster Rivas 1-2, 2 BB; LHP Ben Krauth (L, 1-4) 5 IP, 5 H, 5 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 2, K, 2 HR; RHP Mason Fox 2 IP, H, 2 K; RHP Moises Lugo 2 IP, H, 3 K

Prospect Watch: The Missions were down 5-2 at home when Joshua Mears crushed a line drive over the left-center field wall in the sixth inning to cut the lead to one. San Antonio came close to tying the game up in the ninth inning with runners on the corners, but a strikeout by Tirso Ornelas ended the threat. … In five games and 23 plate appearances since being promoted to Double-A, Mears has four hits, two for home runs, and three walks.  He’s also struck out 12 times for a .200/.304/.500 slash line. In Fort Wayne this year, he had a 43.5% strikeout rate, and even when he went to the Arizona Complex League and posted a .935 OPS while straightening out his swing, he still struck out 39.4% of the time. To make his prospect status even more interesting, at 6-foot-3, 245-pounds, he is San Antonio’s best defender in center field. So, when we say it’s difficult to find a major league comparison for him, it’s the truth. The organization has pushed Mears to focus how he does contribute rather than dwelling on the strikeouts. … Juan Fernandez had two more hits to continue a huge August with a .376/.485/.482 line. He’s drawn more walks this month than he had in the first four combined, which has not only bolstered his on-base percentage, but made the balls he puts in play more impactful. The 23-year-old, who had played all but 31 of his professional innings before this year at catcher, has logged most of his playing time this year at first and third base, with some time sprinkled in behind the plate and at second.

Missions Notes:  Outfielder Tyler Malone was added to San Antonio’s roster from Fort Wayne.

Nick Thwaits needed only 27 pitches to get nine outs. (Photo: Jeff Nycz).

TinCaps 8, Great Lakes Loons 0

Key Statistics: CF Justin Farmer 1-3, RBI, 2 BB, SB; RF Agustin Ruiz 3-5, HR (6), 3 RBI, SB; 1B Cole Cummings, 1-4, 2B, BB; 2B Lucas Dunn 0-2, 4 BB; RHP Jose Espada 6.0 IP, H, 3 BB, 10 K; RHP Nick Thwaits 3.0 IP 2 K

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps jumped on River Ryan, the Padres’ 11th-round pick last year who was traded for Matt Beaty, for four first inning runs. The righty walked the first two batters, but got the next two outs and had a chance to get out of the jam until an error extended the frame and allowed the first run. Agustin Ruiz then made him pay with his eighth overall home run of the year to right field on Ryan’s 30th and final pitch of the game. Ruiz had three hits on the night, extending his hitting streak to match a season-best five games. He’s collected three of his six Midwest League homers in his last seven games and added 124 points to his OPS over the stretch. The 22-year-old outfielder started the year with moderate production in Double-A, but cratered after a mid-May demotion back to Fort Wayne. … Spotted to the rare early lead, Jose Espada delivered his most impressive start since joining the organization, throwing six shutout innings and only allowing a two-out single in the fifth inning. The 25-year-old righty has paired a lively slider and change-up with a low-90s fastball to strike out 50 in 33.1 innings since returning to affiliated ball with the TinCaps in June. … Nick Thwaits followed Espada with three perfect innings to combine on the team’s first one-hitter in three years. Thwaits needed only 27 pitches – 20 for strikes – to get the last nine outs. Since reverting from a four-seamer to a cutter earlier this season, the 2018 draftee has reasserted himself. The Ohio native has posted a 1.62 ERA and 0.75 WHIP over his last 20.2 innings working as a multi-inning reliever. He could conceivably put himself back in the mix for a rotation spot next year if he continues to show the ability to get lefties out. … Justin Farmer drew his 100th walk of the season and leads all of minor league baseball. The 23-year-old outfielder, signed as an undrafted free agent last year, also swiped his first Hi-A stolen base in his fifth game, bringing his season total to 39.  … Ryan, who was a two-way player in college and only hit in ACL games for San Diego last year before moving full-time to the mound in instructional league play, has had a nice year through two levels with 63 strikeouts in 42.2 innings against 17 walks for a 2.32 ERA. He likely profiles as a reliever going forward.

Inland Empire 66ers 9, Storm 1

Key Statistics: SS Jackson Merrill 1-4, SB (6); C Alison Quintero 1-4, 3B; CF Jakob Marsee 0-2, 2 BB;  RHP Matt Boswell, (L, 0-1) 2 IP, 4 H, 5 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 2 K

Prospect Watch: The Storm loaded the bases before making their first out when Jakob Marsee walked, Jackson Merrill singled and Marcos Castañon got hit by a pitch, but they could plate only one run on an infield groundout. That was it for the scoring for Lake Elsinore, who advanced only two more men into scoring position all night. … Marsee, the Padres’ sixth-round selection this year, has drawn seven walks in five games since joining the Storm from his tune-up stint in the desert. As Baseball America noted coming into the draft, he only swung and missed at five percent of the fastballs he saw this spring at Central Michigan. He has a .486 on-base percentage in his first 72 professional plate appearances despite hitting just .212 in the ACL. With little power in his game, he would profile best in center field, but he’s also seen time in right. … Alison Quintero, making his second start since joining Lake Elsinore had a triple for the club’s only extra-base hit. The 22-year-old backstop has logged limited playing time at every affiliate except Fort Wayne this season.

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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