Chihuahuas 6, Salt Lake City Bees 1

Key Stats: RHP Matt Waldron 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 K, 2 BB, HBP; RHP Pierce Johnson 1 IP; LHP Ryan Weathers 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 K; RHP Moises Lugo 1 IP, 1 K, 1 BB; DH Jorge Alfaro 1-for-3, HR (2), BB; 3B Kervin Pichardo 1-for-2, HR (4), BB; RF Brandon Dixon 1-for-3, 2B, BB

Matt Waldron has gone to his knuckleball more often later in the season. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Prospect Watch: Matt Waldron and five relievers combined to hold the Bees to just one unearned run as the Chihuahuas won to split their home series. Waldron has allowed one run over five innings in three of his last four starts, putting just 17 runners on base in the process. The only run he surrendered Sunday came on back-to-back hard-hit grounders to third base, one of which was ruled an error and the other a double. The 25-year-old relied on his knuckleball in 68 of his 82 pitches, keeping both Salt Lake hitters and Statcast off balance all day. After a rough transition to Triple-A, Waldron has begun to see better results as he’s worked in the knuckler more frequently in the last month. … El Paso got contributions from a pair of big league rehabbers who figured to be in their last game before rejoining the Padres. Jorge Alfaro smoked a hanging curve ball for his second homer in four games as he works back from a leg injury. The burly catcher also drew a walk as the designated hitter and has 11 total bases in his 15 at-bats. … Reliever Pierce Johnson got three quick groundouts on 11 pitches in an inning of relief. He tossed his elite curve ball seven times and got six strikes and a dribbler down the first base line with it. … While Kervin Pichardo had a rough inning at third base behind Waldron, he made up for it with a solo homer and a walk on the day. The 20-year-old from the Bronx has clubbed four home runs in 60 plate appearances in a reserve role for the Chihuahuas after slugging just .304 in nearly triple the action during a more age-appropriate assignment with Lake Elsinore. The Padres acquired Pichardo for James Norwood after placing the hard-throwing reliever on waivers late in spring training. Norwood has since been designated for assignment two more times.

Corpus Christi Hooks 6, Missions 5 (F/7)

Key Stats: 1B Juan Fernandez 1-for-2, 2 BB; DH Webster Rivas 1-for-2, 2 BB; 2B Kelvin Melean 1-for-3, 3B, BB

Missions 3, Corpus Christi Hooks 1 (F/7)

Key Stats: 3B Juan Fernandez 2-for-3; DH Yorman Rodriguez 1-for-3, HR (13); RHP Brandon Komar 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 3 BB; RHP Alek Jacob 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 K; RHP Lake Bachar 1 IP, 1 K, 1 BB

Yorman Rodriguez has earned career-high playing time with strong production at the plate this year. (Photo: Rey Holguin).

Prospect Watch: The Missions split their double-header after Saturday night’s rainout, rallying for three runs in the sixth inning of the nightcap to avoid getting swept in the series. Juan Fernandez, who played both corner infield spots on the day, went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. The 23-year-old ersatz catcher walked only 11 times in his first 61 games of the year but has drawn 19 free passes over his last 30 contests to fuel a .450 on-base percentage since August 1. … Brandon Komar couldn’t get through five innings in the nightcap, but pitched well in spite of spotty command. The Madison College product allowed just one earned run and struck out five despite needing 83 pitches to get through 4.2 innings. He gave way to Alek Jacob, who kept an inherited runner from scoring, then struck out two more in the sixth inning. The soft-tossing righty got knocked around a bit in his first taste of Triple-A but has struck out 72 in 51.2 innings across three levels this year. He’s held Texas League opponents to a .217 average. … Yorman Rodriguez connected on his 13th homer of the season in the nightcap, extending his career-high total. The 2020 minor league Rule 5 pick, who had never topped 279 plate appearances in a season, is now at 493 for the year.

West Michigan Whitecaps 9, TinCaps 4

Key Stats: 1B Cole Cummings 1-for-3, HR (6), BB; 3B Josstin Diaz 2-for-4, HR (1); RHP Ethan Hawkins 2.2 IP, 5 H, 7 R (5 ER), 3 K, 4 BB, 2 WP; RHP Nick Thwaits 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 K, 2 BB, HBP

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps dropped the final home game of a frustrating season Sunday as Garrett Hawkins struggled through another outing. The big righty allowed seven runs, five earned, over 2.2 innings. When he’s been on this year, Hawkins has sat in the mid-90s and shown an above-average changeup, but at times he’s lost his mechanics and not gotten the drive off his back leg he needs. In 9.1 innings since his promotion from Low-A, the 22-year-old has walked 10 after issuing only 20 free passes in 77.2 innings in Lake Elsinore. … Cole Cummings connected on his sixth homer for the TinCaps and 12th overall on the year. The left-handed hitting first baseman has a .351 slugging percentage since joining Fort Wayne.

Storm 5, Visalia Rawhide 3

Key Stats: CF Jakob Marsee 1-for-3, 2B, BB, SB (5); C Juan Zabala 1-for-3, BB, SB (15); 1B Nathan Martorella 1-for-2, 2B, 2 BB; LHP Fernando Sanchez 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB; RHP Justin Lopez 1 IP, 1 K

Jakob Marsee has continued to reach base at an impressive clip since moving up from Peoria. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Prospect Watch: The Storm had just three hits in the contest but drew three straight bases-loaded walks and then got yet another key hit from Juan Zabala in the eighth to pull ahead. The Padres acquired Zabala, 23 and not to be confused with outfielder Samuel Zavala, for minimal cash considerations from the Dodgers organization after he had appeared in just three Midwest League games and the system needed bodies to deal with COVID outbreaks at multiple levels. He served as a bridge at catcher until San Antonio could get healthy, then joined the Storm, where he’s hit .300/.390/.405 across 56 games. Originally signed out of Colombia back in 2015, he didn’t reach full-season ball until last year, when he posted a .597 OPS in very limited action as a reserve across three levels. Having shown solid receiving skills, he has likely put himself on track to continue to have a role in the system going forward. … The Storm’s third inning was quite an adventure. After two fast outs, Jakob Marsee quickly fell behind 0-2, after which Visalia reliever Brock Jones absolutely lost it. He missed the zone on four straight to give Marsee his 11th walk in 12 games with Elsinore. Jones then threw 19 of his next 21 pitches for balls, walking four more and hitting Marcos Castañon before finally giving way. … Marsee also collected a double in his second consecutive game and swiped his fifth base on the front end of a double steal. The sixth-rounder out of Central Michigan University has reached at a .442 clip and struck out in just 15% of his plate appearances in his professional debut. … Justin Lopez made his second relief appearance for the Storm and earned his second save without allowing a ball out of the infield. The converted shortstop has struck out 11 in 8.2 innings since returning to the ACL to make the move to the mound early this summer.

Posted by David Jay

David has written for MadFriars since 2005, has published articles in Baseball America, written a monthly column for FoxSports San Diego and appeared on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He may be best known on the island of Guam for his photos of Trae Santos that appeared in the Pacific Daily News.

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