Smith, Rosario Propel 51s’ Offense in 13-7 Win

After splitting the first two games of their home series with El Paso, Las Vegas (34-53) got off to a slow start in the rubber game.

Right-hander Tyler Pill started on the mound for the 51s and gave up single runs in the first, second and sixth innings. Two of the runs came on solo home runs. He was able to limit the damage for the most part while he waited for his offense to help out. Vegas hitters were frustrated having runners on in all but one inning, but hitting into two double plays.

With the score 3-0 El Paso in the bottom of the sixth, shortstop Amed Rosario led off with a single. Then first baseman Dominic Smith blasted a home run to plate the first two runs bringing the 51s within one run. In the top of the seventh, Pill allowed a single,  then after a sac bunt, he hit the next batter. That was all for him as he was relieved after throwing 101 pitches.

Ben Rowen come on and gave up a two-run double which closed the book on Pill. Pill’s final line was six and a third innings, five runs (all earned), on six hits and one walk. He struck out six.

After being within one, Vegas was now behind by 5-2. In the bottom of the seventh, the offense got some help with back-to-back walks to left fielder Phillip Evans and third baseman Jio Mier. Pinch-hitter Cody Decker singled to load the bases. After El Paso made a pitching change, second baseman Gavin Cecchini singled to score Evans and everyone moved up. Rosario grounded out as Mier was forced at home. The bases now loaded with one out, Smith singled to right driving in two to tie the game at 5-5. Catcher Kevin Plawecki singled to plate Rosario with the go ahead run. Centerfielder Travis Taijeron walked to re-load the bases. Then with two outs, Evans came up for the second time in the inning and singled in two more runs to increase the Vegas lead to 8-5.

In the top of the eighth, lefty Kyle Regnault came on and jeopardized the lead by giving up four hits and two runs in two thirds of an inning. With the score now 8-7, Hansel Robles was called upon to put out the fire and preserved the lead by retiring the final batter of the inning.

After putting up a six spot in the seventh, Vegas added on in the eighth to extend their lead. With one out, Cecchini doubled. Rosario beat out a slow roller to first to move Cecchini to third. Then he stole second base, putting two in scoring position for Smith. A line drive single to right drove in Cecchini and Rosario increasing the lead to 10-7. The hits kept coming as Plawecki singled. With two out, Josh Rodriguez doubled in Smith. Then Evans singled in Plawecki and Rodriguez to stretch the lead to 13-7. Robles pitched a one-two-three ninth to notch the save. Rowen was credited with the “vulture” win.

Top Performers:

Amed Rosario went 4 for 5 with three runs scored and didn’t strike out for the fifth straight game.  Dominic Smith was 3 for 5 making him 5 for 9 since his 19-game hit streak was ended on Tuesday. He hit a two-run home run, collecting a career-high six RBI in total and three runs scored. Kevin Plawecki was also 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Gavin Cecchini, Jio Mier and Phillip Evans had two hits each.

Elsewhere in the Minors:

Luis Guillorme had two hits, knocked in a run and scored a run in the Binghamton Rumble Ponies 6-5 loss. Guillorme is hitting .378 with seven walks over his last ten games.

Michael Conforto reached base four times including three hits for the St. Lucie Mets as they lost 8-5. Josh Smoker threw a scoreless inning with one strikeout as the two Mets began their rehab assignments on Thursday night. Tim Tebow knocked in a run and doubled, he has now reached base safely in all ten FSL games. Patrick Mazeika, Peter Alonso and Wuilmer Becerra each had two hits in the game.

The Columbia Fireflies won 2-1 in ten innings thanks to a solo home run by Brandon Brosher. Andres Gimenez walked twice and knocked in the other Fireflies run. Starter Thomas Szapucki left the game after only three batters with discomfort in his left forearm. Adonis Uceta picked up his 10th save and extended his scoreless streak to 23.1 innings.

The Brooklyn Cyclones got pummeled 13-0 and got outhit 15-3. The lone bright spot for the Cyclones was 2017 fifth rounder Matt Winaker going 2 for 4, his second straight multi-hit game.

Offensive explosion from the Kingsport Mets led them to a 17-3 victory. They went 11 for 27 with runners in scoring position as a team. Shortstop Edgardo Fermin had a career-high five hits and five runs batted in. Each Kingsport player had at least one hit and one run scored.

Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that right-handed pitching prospect Cameron Planck will undergo season-ending surgery on his throwing shoulder.