The Las Vegas 51s (20-31) ended a six game losing streak Sunday afternoon against the San Diego Padre’s Triple A affiliate El Paso Chihuahuas (24-27).
May has not been a pretty month for the 51s, who have not had a day off since May 10. The team’s pitching staff has suffered numerous blows due to call ups by New York, including Josh Smoker (1.04 ERA over 8.2 innings in LV), Tyler Pill (1.96 ERA over 46 innings in LV), Rafael Montero (1.74 ERA over 10.1 innings in LV) and Paul Sewald (2.08 ERA over 8.2 innings in LV). Las Vegas sports the 4th worst ERA in the Pacific Coast League at 5.17.
However, the 51s caught a break defensively for the first five innings Sunday with the help of Steven Matz, who is currently on a rehab assignment. Matz, who allowed five runs over four innings in his first rehab start May 23 against Round Rock, pitched five perfect innings for Las Vegas with eight strikeouts.
Nonetheless, the pitching woes continued after Matz’s performance, when Alberto Baldonado (7.45 ERA over 9.2 innings in LV) could only record one out in the sixth, allowing one run while on the mound. Erik Goeddel (8.02 ERA over 21.1 innings in LV), failed to clean up Baldonado’s mess, giving up a grand slam to El Paso’s Jose Pirela. He would go on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning.
Las Vegas struck back in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game, scoring three runs over three hits and an error. In the eighth inning, Las Vegas took the lead thanks to their two biggest stars, Ahmed Rosario and Dominic Smith, who each had RBI singles.
The 51s were lead offensively by Phillip Evans (.235 BA, 16 RBI, 3 HR in LV) who went 3-4 with two runs and a RBI, Brandon Nimmo (.209 BA, 8 RBI, 2 HR in LV) with three doubles going 4-5, and Dominic Smith (.329 BA, 35 RBI, 7 HR in LV), having a 4-5 day with three RBI.
After Chasen Bradford (3.86 ERA over 23.1 innings in LV) pitched a scoreless eighth inning, things got dicey in the ninth. However, Hansel Robles, who was just sent down by New York, found a way to get out of a bases loaded situation unscathed, earning the save.
The 51s will play two more against El Paso Monday and Tuesday, with a much needed day off on May 31.