Today’s top-to-bottom victory for the Padres organization, as the big league club won dramatically on the east coast. In contrast, the Chihuahuas, Missions, and TinCaps won at home, and the Storm won on the road in Rancho Cucamonga, with MadFriars providing on-site coverage.
Chihuahuas 9, Reno Aces 7
Key Statistics: RHP Reiss Knehr (W, 3-1), 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks; LHP Ray Kerr (H, 2) 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K; SS Matthew Batten, 2-for-4, HR (5), 2 R, 4 RBI, BB; RF Taylor Kohlwey, 2-for-2, HR (4), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Prospect Watch: El Paso emerged victorious thanks primarily to players who are either frequent Southwest flyers to San Diego or on the doorstep of a callup. The win went to Reiss Knehr, the reliable utility righty who delivered three innings of one-run ball out of the bullpen. He allowed two hits and walked one while striking out four. Knehr has been solid in a bulk relief role for the Chihuahuas, posting a 3.96 ERA and 3-1 record to go along with 24 strikeouts and nine walks in 25 innings of work. In those 12 appearances (one start), Knehr was allowed only three home runs in the wispy atmospheric conditions of the Pacific Coast League. … Fireballing lefty Ray Kerr also contributed greatly out of the pen, picking up his second hold of the season with a scoreless inning, allowing a hit and giving up a walk. The 28-year-old Kerr has shown his stuff can overwhelm Triple-A hitters, with a 1.17 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 15.1 innings in 2023. With six walks, Kerr is making strides towards demonstrating the command he needs to take on a more consistent role with the Padres. … Matthew Batten enjoyed a productive evening in the leadoff spot, slugging a home run as part of a two-hit outing and driving in four runs while scoring a pair himself. Batten, a familiar face to Padres fans after his stint as a utility player in 2022, has come alive in May after a slow start to the season, slashing .214/.385/.457 in 70 at-bats for the month. The Quinnipiac alum also sports a 1.105 OPS against left-handed pitching in 2023. … Taylor Kohlwey also contributed a big fly and reached base four times with hits and two walks. Kohlwey, a 21st-round pick in 2016, is batting .243 with a .743 OPS in 136 at-bats in 2023.
Roster Move: The Chihuahuas activated outfielder Luis Liberato from the injured list before Thursday’s game. Righthander Sean Poppen was placed on the disabled list as a corresponding move.
Missions 5, Amarillo Sod Poodles 4
Key Statistics: RHP Kevin Kopps (W, 3-0), 2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks; RHP Alek Jacob (S, 1), 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 Ks; RF Tirso Ornelas, 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI; LF Jorge Oña, 2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI
Prospect Watch: The Missions carried a late rally to victory thanks mainly to their bullpen, with Kevin Kopps earning his third win of the season with two innings of one-run ball. The Arkansas product struck out two and, most importantly, avoided any free passes in the winning effort. Kopps, a third-round pick in 2021, has begun to find the command he’ll need to sharpen to make the next step in his development after starting the season in San Antonio for the second straight year. … Picking up his first save of the season, Alek Jacob was fantastic closing things out, throwing two innings of one-hit ball, walking none and striking out four. Jacob, a 2021 16th-rounder out of Gonzaga, has a 1.35 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 13.1 innings in 2023, and a 1.90 ERA in 90 innings to begin his professional career. … San Antonio’s seventh-inning rally came courtesy of Tirso Ornelas, whose second hit of the evening was a two-run double to give the Missions the lead. Ornelas raised his average to .212 and OPS to .642. … Also providing a two-hit night with some power was Jorge Oña, who went 2-for-3 with a double and drove in a pair of runs. Oña is batting .215 with a .633 OPS in 2023 as he returns to San Antonio focused on having a healthy, productive year after losing most of 2021 and 2022 to injuries. Oña, of course, is a familiar face to Padres fans after spending time with the 2020 squad.
Tincaps 8, Lansing Lugnuts 1
Key Statistics: RHP Adam Mazur, 4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks; RHP Bobby Milacki (W, 3-0), 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 Ks; SS Jackson Merrill, 2-for-4, BB; LF Justin Farmer, 2-for-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBIs
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps dominated on Thursday night, with 2022 second-round pick Adam Mazur setting the tone in his sixth professional start. The Iowa product struck out five in 4.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits and a walk. The 22-year-old righty has a 1.80 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 25 innings for the TinCaps in 2023, his first professional season. … Bobby Milacki delivered 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to earn his third win of the season. The 26-year-old Milacki allowed a walk and three hits while striking out four. After spending the previous two seasons in the Twins system, he signed with the Padres in the offseason. Milacki’s father, Bob, was selected by the Padres with the ninth pick of the 1983 MLB January Draft but did not sign, instead joining the Orioles after they drafted him in the second round of that year’s June Draft. … Don’t call it a comeback, prospect watchers, but Jackson Merrill continues to heat up. The Padres’ top prospect went 2-for-4 with a walk and is now batting .313 with a .797 OPS in May. Justin Farmer did the heavy lifting for the TinCaps offense. The outfielder slugged a double and a home run as part of a three-RBI evening. Farmer, signed by the Padres following the 2021 draft, is slashing .207/.313/.319 in 116 at-bats for the TinCaps after making 17 appearances for Fort Wayne in 2022 following promotion from Lake Elsinore.
Storm 3, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 1
Key Statistics: RF Albert Fabian, 1-for-3, 2B, BB, RBI, SB (1); SS Rosman Verdugo, 1-for-3, 2B; 1B Devin Ortiz, 1-for-4, R, RBI; LHP Robby Snelling, 5 IP, 5 H, BB, 5 K; RHP Will Geerdes (W, 2-1) 2 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 6 K
Prospect Watch: The Storm won their third straight over Rancho Cucamonga. David Jay was at LoanMart Field with on-site coverage of yet another strong outing by Robby Snelling.