Juan Fernandez connected on a grand slam Tuesday night. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Chihuahuas 10. Albuquerque Isotopes 4

Key Statistics: 2B-SS Matthew Batten, 3-for-6, 2B, RBI; 3B Eguy Rosario, 2-for-5, 2 R, BB, RBI; 1B Kyle Martin, 2-for-4, R, BB; LF Connor Hollis, 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, RBI; DH Juan Fernandez, 2-for-5, R, HR (1), 4 RBI; CF Thomas Milone, 2-for-5, R, HR (3) RBI; LHP Jay Groome, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 K; LHP Aaron Leasher (W, 8-6) IP, BB, 2 K; RHP Angel Felipe, 1.1 IP, BB, 3 K

Prospect Watch: In the second-to-last game of the season, El Paso scored 10 runs on 17 hits in a drubbing of their geographic rival. El Paso has scored a PCL-high 971 runs this season. … Tuesday’s game was an example of how weird baseball can be. In 431 plate appearances in San Antonio, Juan Fernandez did not hit a home run. Naturally, in his seventh game this season in El Paso, Fernandez connected on a grand slam to pace the El Paso offensive attack. It was Fernandez’s first homer since September 1, 2021, when he was with the Missions. After collecting his third straight two-hit game, Fernandez is hitting .440/.481/.560 through his first seven Triple-A games. … The ever-versatile Connor Hollis started in left field and reached base four times. He had a pair of singles, two walks, and drove in a run as well. After winning the Texas League batting title and helping the team reach the playoffs, Hollis has been a solid contributor who makes the El Paso roster deeper overall. Hollis has hit safely in all five games since returning to the Chihuahuas.

Aaron Leasher in action for the El Paso Chihuahuas (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Left-hander Jay Groome made an abbreviated start for the Chihuahuas and was removed after two innings and 37 pitches. In those two innings, Groome threw 22 strikes and allowed no runs on three hits, with three strikeouts. It didn’t appear that Groome suffered an injury and perhaps the organization is keeping him fresh for either an appearance in the PCL Championship game or even a late-season start should the Padres clinch a playoff berth this week. Assuming this is Groome’s final regular season appearance for 2022, he will finish with a 3-2 record with a 3.16 ERA in 10 starts with the Chihuahuas. He averaged just over five innings per start even as he blew past his previous career high in innings pitched. … Fellow southpaw Aaron Leasher picked up the win by firing a scoreless inning. He walked a batter and added a pair of strikeouts. The 26-year-old has experienced a bit of a career resurgence since moving to the bullpen. Leasher opened the season the El Paso rotation and pitched to an ERA of nearly six in 11 starts. Since moving to the bullpen, Leasher has a 2.70 ERA in 24 appearances and has struck out 54 batters in 46.2 innings while holding batters to just a .239 average.

Roster Transactions: The Padres announced that they selected the contract of Brandon Dixon, adding him to the 40-player and big league roster prior to Tuesday’s game. The 30-year-old native San Diegan was a third-round pick by the Dodgers way back in 2013. He was traded to Cincinnati in the three-team swap that sent Todd Fraizer to the White Sox and Trayce Thompson to the Dodgers, and made his big league debut in 2018. After struggling through nearly 200 games across three seasons, he went to Japan last season then signed as a minor league free agent during spring training. While he missed four months on the IL, when he was on the field this season, he was unstoppable. He logged 25 games each at San Antonio and El Paso, posting a 1.265 OPS and hitting 23 homers in a career-year. He’ll give the Padres a bit of right-handed pop off the bench through the season’s final week. To make room for him, the club designated Luis Liberato, himself a minor league free agent signee who was added to the big league roster earlier this month, for assignment. The 26-year-old went 0-for-5 in seven games, working primarily as a pinch runner and defensive replacement.

Posted by Kevin Charity

Kevin Charity has written for MadFriars since 2015 and has had work featured on Fox Sports San Diego. He is a lifelong San Diego native and is looking forward to seeing the current wave of prospects thrive in San Diego.

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