Several times during each season, we see what is sometimes called a PCL Special. A game where the ball flies out of the park, and base hits rain down left, right and center. Maybe some walks and errors for good measure. Runs accumulate on the scoreboard before you can blink. Friday night’s contest between Las Vegas (18-16) and El Paso was just such a game.
Vegas starter Stolmy Pimentel was touched for a run in the first. He hit the first batter, center fielder Manuel Margot, who then stole second. A double by second baseman Carlos Asuaje chased him in. But Pimentel was able to retire three of the next four batters to limit the Chihuahuas to just the one run. His team’s offense should have no trouble getting him back even.
It didn’t take long. Vegas second baseman Dilson Herrera led off with a home run to left, tying the game at 1-1. Pimentel and the 51s fell behind again though in the second with a run on a James Loney RBI single. And then the wheels came off.
Two El Paso singles and a double brought in two more runs before Pimentel could record an out in the third. A one out single then brought in run number five and Pimentel’s night was done.
Lefty Josh Smoker took over and two consecutive singles later a sixth run scored to close the book on Pimentel. His final line was 2.1 innings, 6 earned runs, on 8 hits, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts increasing his ERA to 9.86.
After issuing a walk Smoker uncorked a wild pitch that allowed another run to come in. A double and single resulted in two more runs. But Smoker was able to coax a pop-up to second to mercifully bring the inning to an end. In two-thirds of an inning, Smoker allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk. He struck out one. El Paso put eight total runs on the board in that inning and now led 10-1.
In the bottom of the inning, the 51s attempted to climb out of the big chasm, and with two outs Dilson Herrera again got things started with a leadoff single. A double by center fielder Brandon Nimmo and a single by third baseman T.J. Rivera would to plate Herrera, but that was all Vegas could muster in that inning.
Erik Goeddel took the mound next for Vegas in the top of the fourth, and was able to quiet things down, pitching a much needed 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the inning, shortstop Matt Reynolds doubled but was caught trying to steal third. Left fielder Ty Kelly doubled with two out, but it was wasted as Goeddel flied out to center to end the inning. He hit for himself so he could get the 51s through another inning, but he gave up a solo homer to Asuaje leading off the fifth as El Paso extended their lead to 11-2. Jeff Walters kept the opposition scoreless in the top of the sixth working around a leadoff walk.
The climb was steep, but Vegas kept coming with the help of some wildness on the part of the new El Paso pitcher Seth Rosin in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs Rosin walked catcher Nevin Ashley and Ty Kelly. A single by pinch-hitter Marc Krauss loaded the bases…
And up came Dilson Herrera. The hot-hitting Mets prospect would only hit a grand slam to left center, getting the 51s four runs closer. His second home run of the game was his sixth of the year.
Zack Thornton and Chase Bradford pitched a scoreless inning each to give Vegas a chance. And a new El Paso pitcher opened the door. A single to Ashley and a walk to pinch-hitter Daniel Muno set the stage for Herrera once again. A grounder up the middle loaded the bases, but it was Rivera who came through with a single driving in Muno, and first baseman Johnny Monell followed with a run-scoring single of his own, cutting the Chihuahuas’ lead to two runs. The 51s would ultimately lose by a score of 12-10.
Dilson Herrera went 4-for-6 with four runs scored and five RBI. Brandon Nimmo and T.J. Rivera each went 2-for-4, with Rivera driving in three.
Next up Las Vegas heads out for an 8-game road trip where they will face the Oklahoma City Dodgers and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. On Saturday night they will get a look at LHP Julio Urias, who is the second best prospect in baseball.
For a comprehensive recap of all the Mets minor league action last night click here.
(Photos by Jennifer Nieves)