Diablos Take Two of Three on Marathon Day
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Nearly nine hours after the first pitch was thrown on Sunday, the Grand Prairie AirHogs saw their division lead shrunk to two-and-a-half games over the El Paso Diablos, who shook off the 12-11 AirHogs win in 15 innings in the game suspended from Friday before sweeping a doubleheader 3-2 and 5-4 at QuikTrip Park.
After Friday's game was stopped with a 9-9 score after nine innings, it picked up at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday, with Derrick Miramontes and Ray Silva (1-1) keeping El Paso (42-42) off the scoreboard for the next five innings, getting out of four jams in the process.
Marcel Prado (two innings) and Tim Adleman (three) did the same to the AirHogs (46-41), with Grand Prairie squandering a golden chance in the 13th, when John Alonso grounded into a fielder's choice out at home with runners at the corners with one out before Kenny Held flied out to end the inning.
Jermy Acey and Zane Chavez began the top of the 15th with hits, before Silva threw high on a sacrifice bunt by Daniel Nelson to load the bases. JJ Muse lined a two-run single to put the Diablos up 11-9, before Silva was able to get out of the inning.
Drew Graham (1-1) came on to try to get his first career save in the bottom half, but was greeted with a base hit by Jonny Kaplan. Keanon Simon was next, but was ejected by home plate umpire Justin Post after arguing a called strike one with a 2-0 count. In stepped pitcher Nick DeBarr, who took two straight balls to get on. Brian Myrow then struck out and after a passed ball, Alonso grounded out to bring in a run and with an 0-2 count, Held ripped a double to left-center to tie the game.
Andres Rodriguez then walked, before Jairo Perez lined a single to left to win the game and give the AirHogs a good start to the day.
But El Paso came back in the doubleheader, making up for the rainout on Saturday. Per league rules, both of those games were seven innings. In the opener, El Paso got on the board first in the third, getting a triple from Nelson and a sacrifice fly from Muse to take the lead.
The Diablos added to it with two runs on three hits and a wild pitch in the fourth against Josh Strawn (6-5), with Fernando Valenzuela knocking in both runs.
Grand Prairie got a run back in each of the fourth and fifth, but had the bases loaded and no outs in each inning, settling for just one each time. Diablos starter Luis Chirinos (4-1) set the AirHogs down in order in the sixth, but Grand Prairie got two one-out hits in the seventh to make another comeback bid. But this time it fell short, as Chirinos threw a season-high 132 pitches, getting a pop-out from Rodriguez and a groundout from Trent Lockwood to finish the game off.
It was another one-run game in the nightcap, with El Paso again taking the lead, this time with two runs in the first. Rodriguez homered on the first pitch of the bottom of the second off Reyes Dorado, but the Diablos got that back on a triple by Reid Fronk and a single by Welington Dotel against AirHogs starter Jake Cowan (0-1) in the third.
Rodriguez tied the game with a two-run single in the bottom half, but Ronny Morla (5-4) took over for Dorado after he left with an apparent leg injury a batter later and got Perez to fly out to left to end the inning.
Neither team scored in the fourth and in the fifth, Adam Miller was called upon to relieve Cowan with the bases loaded and one out, and got a great barehand play by Brian Myrow at third to get an out at home plate. But Miller then walked Acey to force in a run. Chavez then singled to make it 5-3, while Valenzuela was thrown out at home plate to end the inning.
Morla got around an error in the fourth, but Lockwood singled in a run in the fifth to bring the AirHogs to within one. The AirHogs best chance to tie it came in the sixth, but with a runner at first and one out, Jonny Kaplan grounded into a 4-3 double play to end the inning, despite replays appearing to show that Yasutsugu Nishimoto eluded the tag attempt by Nelson.
Justin Harper, who pitched the sixth, worked a 1-2-3 seventh for his first professional save, as El Paso ended the night at 9:58 p.m. with a big victory.
Notes: Several league records were tied or bettered in the five-hour, 32 minute first game: Myrow and Dotel each were walked intentionally three times to tie a record, and Myrow walked five times overall to tie another league mark. Jonny Kaplan tied the league record with three hit-by-pitches, and the AirHogs set a record with 23 men left on base and 63 at-bats, with a combined record of 40 men left aboard.Alonso made a diving catch in the first game of the doubleheader and landed on his already injured ribs, and was held out of the nightcap as a precaution.Dotel was intentionally walked once in both ends of the doubleheader.Laredo is also two-and-a-half games back in the South after sweeping Kansas City.
The 2011 American Association Champion Grand Prairie AirHogs conclude their four-game series with the El Paso Diablos on Monday, August 20, at 6:05 p.m. Due to the planned spraying against West Nile Virus by Dallas County, the game will start an hour earlier than scheduled. It is Margarita Monday, with a dollar off all margaritas at QuikTrip Park. All games are aired live and for free on Ustream by clicking on the link on the AirHogs' home page or visiting http://www.ustream.tv/channel/airhogs-baseball with selected contests aired on Time Warner Cable's Texas Channel. For information on tickets, promotions, advertising, and other opportunities with the AirHogs, check out the Web site at www.airhogsbaseball.com, or call the QuikTrip Park office at (972) 504-9383.
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American Association Stories from August 20, 2012
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