Las Vegas 51s Win Streak Ends in 10-6 Loss at El Paso
For two weeks the Las Vegas 51s have been able to enjoy being the bullies of the Pacific Coast League. The club’s 14-game win streak allowed them to leapfrog into the league’s second best overall record, giving them a three-game lead over the second place team in their division – the El Paso Chihuahuas. El Paso was not about to allow the 51s to extend that lead while playing in Texas, or to allow Las Vegas to extend their winning streak, so they slugged their way to 10-6 win over the visitors, snapping the winning streak.
The game began looking like the winning streak was going to continue on. The Las Vegas 51s jumped out to a five run first inning lead, and looked like they were going to cruise. James Needy started for El Paso, and he struggled mightily through the first frame.
Darrell Ceciliani and Matt Reynolds led off the game with back-to-back singles, and Eric Campbell walked to load the bases. That brought Alex Castellanos to the plate, and with one swing he gave the 51s a 4-o lead. His eighth home run of the year cleared the centerfield wall, and it looked really bad for Needy. Brandon Allen followed with a walk, and Travis Taijeron singled to put runners on first and second with still no one out. One out later Wilfredo Tovar hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-0.
Needy was able to finally retire the side, but nine Las Vegas players had batted in the first. They had scored five runs on four hits and two walks, and this had another win for the 51s written all over it.
El Paso could have crumpled following the first inning, but not the Chihuahuas. These dogs proved that they have bite.
Rymer Liriano led off the bottom half of the inning drawing a walk from 51s starter Darin Gorski. Mike McCoy then doubled into the gap in rightfield. Alex Dickerson hit a sacrifice fly to score Liriano, and Cody Decker followed with his fifth home run of the season to make it 5-3. Gorski settled down and retired the side, but there was blood in the water. These dogs knew they had the Las Vegas starter reeling, and they were ready to jump on him.
In the bottom of the second Liriano walked again with one out. McCoy singled, and Dickerson walked to load the bases. That brought Decker to the plate, who launched his second home run of the game over the centerfield fence to make it 7-5. Decker was a one man wrecking crew, eliminating the five run deficit and turning it into a two run lead.
From there the Chihuahuas pitching staff took over. They allowed just one run over the final eight innings, a Reynolds single that scored Danny Muno. Needy (3-2) allowed six hits and two walks during his five innings of work to earn the win. Leonel Campos, Cory Mazzoni and Marcos Mateo combined to pitch the final four innings of the game, allowing just two hits and a run, while striking out four.
Gorski (2-2) lasted just 1.1 innings, allowing five hits and five walks. It was by far his toughest outing of the year.
El Paso added single runs in three other innings, the fifth, seventh and eighth innings. Liriano singled home Robert Kral in the fifth to make it 8-5. In the seventh the Chihuahuas responded to the 51s scoring in the top of the seventh with back-to-back doubles by Ramiro Pena and Jake Goebbert to make it 9-6. Liriano added a solo home run in the eighth to close out the scoring.
The Las Vegas 51s were held to eight hits, two a piece by Ceciliani, Reynolds and Taijeron. El Paso recorded 12 hits, four of which came off the bat of Decker. He drove in six and scored two runs. Liriano went 2-3 with 2 walks, a home run, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored.
The Las Vegas 51s look to start another 14-game win streak tomorrow when Duane Below (2-1, 1.42) faces off against Daniel McCutchen (0-1, 3.65). Game time is 7:05 local time.
By Robert Pannier