Salt Lake Bees 8, Chihuahuas 4

Key Stats: RF Taylor Kohlwey 2-for-4; CF Luis Liberato 1-for-4, 2B; LF Adam Engel 0-for-4, BB, OF Assist; RHP Pedro Avila 5 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 2 HR; RHP Reiss Knehr 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, K, BB

Luis Liberato had the only extra-base hit for El Paso. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Prospect Watch: Pedro Avila struggled once again, putting the Chihuahuas in an early hole that they never bounced back from. Salt Lake tagged Avila, 26, for a pair of homers in the top of the first, and six runs in five innings. The rough outing actually lowered his ERA a bit for the year. Opponents have a garish 1.184 OPS against the big righty and have struck out just 11 times in 18.1 innings. It’s a rough turn for a pitcher who has been a consistent performer in the upper minors for the last two seasons and earned his way back onto the 40-player roster last year. His slider was the only pitch working for him Sunday. … Luis Liberato‘s double was the only extra-base hit El Paso managed on the afternoon. The left-handed outfielder is reaching base at a strong .388 clip, but after hitting a career-high 20 homers in his first season with the Padres organization last year, has seen his slugging percentage plummet to .370 this year.

Northwest Arkansas Naturals 6, Missions 3

Key Stats: 3B Juan Fernandez 3-for-4, BB; LF Jorge Oña 2-for-4, 2B; LHP Daniel Camarena 1 IP, 2 BB, 2 K; RHP Henry Henry 0.2 IP, 3 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 HBP; RHP Nolan Watson 3 IP, 1 H, 3 K; RHP Alek Jacob 2 IP, 1 K; RHP Kevin Kopps 2 IP, 1 H, 4 K

Juan Fernandez had three hits on Sunday. (Photo: San Antonio Missions)

Prospect Watch: The Naturals put up a six spot in the second inning and never looked back as San Antonio had to settle for a series split. Lefty Daniel Camarena returned to action for the first time since Tommy John surgery before the 2022 season and worked one scoreless inning. The 30-year-old, who gave his hometown fans one of the great highlights of the 2021 season with his grand slam against Max Scherzer, walked a pair but struck out two Sunday. … Henry Henry‘s return from the Development List didn’t go anywhere near as well. The 24-year-old righty, who spent the last two weeks working with the pitching staff on the side, allowed the first six batters he faced to reach base on two hit batters, two walks, and a pair of singles. Henry has put 17 men on base in just five innings this year after resigning with the Padres as a minor league free agent over the winter. … Nolan Watson, Alek Jacob, and Kevin Kopps stopped the bleeding for San Antonio, combining for seven scoreless innings of relief. Kopps struck out four and, for the second consecutive outing, didn’t issue a walk as he dropped his ERA to 3.55. … Juan Fernandez had three of the Missions’ seven hits and drew a walk as he continued his torrid campaign. The 24-year-old, who is logging time at the corner infield spots as well has his home at catcher, has a .487/.565/.590 line through his first 46 plate appearances.

Great Lake Loons 5, TinCaps 2

Brandon Valenzuela is rebounding at the plate in 2023. (Photo: Fort Wayne TinCaps

Key Stats: C Brandon Valenzuela 2-for-3, HR (1), BB, E (2); DH Carlos Luis 1-for-3, 2 BB; LHP Miguel Cienfuegos 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 K, 2 BB; RHP Chris Lincoln 1 IP, 1 H

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps had plenty of opportunities, but went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 14 men on base as they dropped their fifth game of the series and fell to a league-worst 5-16 record on the year. The club is tied for the fewest runs scored in the Midwest League while allowing more runs than any other team on the circuit. … Brandon Valenzuela had the TinCaps only multi-hit game and connected on his first homer of the year. The 22-year-old backstop, who has not been in the lineup everyday, pushed his OPS up to .845 over 29 plate appearances on the season. The switch-hitter has had a double-digit walk rate at every stop in his career, but drew his first base on balls of the season Sunday. … Lefty Miguel Cienfuegos, who earned his first contract in affiliated ball from the Padres in the offseason, took the hard-luck loss after giving up three runs in five innings. The 26-year-old from Canada struck out four Loons batters and now has 17 Ks in as many innings. … Chris Lincoln worked another scoreless inning, pushing his ERA for the year down to 1.35. The big righty, who has been sidelined by elbow and shoulder injuries since the Padres drafted him out of UC Santa Barbara in 2019, only has a 4:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 6.2 frames this year, but he’s induced a lot of weak contact on the ground.

Storm 5, Visalia Rawhide 4

Samuel Zavala offers plenty to dream on offensively in Lake Elsinore. (Photo: Robert Escalante)

Key Stats: CF Samuel Zavala 4-for-5, HR (2), SB; RF Tyler Robertson 1-for-3, HR (2), BB, HBP, SB (11); LF Kai Murphy 3-for-5; DH Rosman Verdugo 1-for-5, 2B, BB, 3K; LHP Austin Krob 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 6 K, 3 BB; RHP Kobe Robinson 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 K, 3 BB

Prospect Watch: The Storm briefly trailed in this one before ultimately claiming their seventh straight win and extending their league best run differential to +61 through 21 games. Lefty Austin Krob gave up a pair of runs in the first innings – one earned – before settling in and allowing just one hit over the next three innings. Having thrown 70 pitches to that point, he went back out for the fifth, but opened by allowing a walk and two singles before giving way. The lefty out of Texas Christian University matched his season high with six strikeouts, but also issued three more walks. In 14.2 frames across four outings he’s posted a 21:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio while holding opponents to a .189 average. … Kobe Robinson once again piggybacked with Krob and, once again, turned in a strong outing. The righty with the slingshot delivery stranded the two runners he inherited and finished his day working 3.2 innings of one-run ball. He finished the day with a 0.84 ERA in 10.2 innings of work, thanks in part to Dylan Nedved coming in with the bases loaded and getting a strikeout. … Samuel Zavala extended his hitting streak to four with his best game of the year. The left-handed hitting outfielder went 4-for-5 with his second opposite-field homer of the year and stolen base. The 18-year-old added 148 points to his OPS in the series and now has a .212/.349/.364 line on the year. … Tyler Robertson hit a solo homer in the eighth to break a tie and give the Storm a lead they wouldn’t give back. The 23-year-old, who also reached on a walk and hit-by-pitch, joined teammates Graham Pauley and Anthony Vilar in the league’s top 10 with a .432 on-base percentage and swiped his league-best 11th base of the year.

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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