photo: Ivan Pierre Aguirre, El Paso Chihuahuas
Results from the game played Sunday, September 17th.
The Memphis Redbirds utilized strong pitching and timely hitting to top the El Paso Chihuahuas, 3-1, bringing home the 2017 Pacific Coast League Championship. It is their third, following titles in 2000 and 2009.
Memphis now travels to Scranton, PA to play the Durham Bulls (TB), the International League Champions, on Tuesday in a winner-takes-all contest for the Triple-A Championship.
Matt Pearce (W, 1-0) tossed a strong effort, striking out eight over six innings while yielding just one solo shot. The home run was one of five hits and one walk allowed. Pearce threw 60 of his 96 pitches for strikes.
Mike Mayers tossed a one-two-three seventh before running into trouble. The righty retired his first two batters in the eighth but gave up a double and single to put runners at the corners for Sean Gilmartin. Gilmartin got his only batter to line out to first, ending the threat.
But the game was far from over. Josh Lucas took the mound to begin the ninth and promptly allowed back-to-back singles that put the tying run on base. But the Florida native bore down, recording two swinging K’s and a pop out to short for his second save of the series.
At the plate, the visitors were outhit eight to nine but exemplified the old adage – ‘Timing is Everything’. Aledmys Diaz singled to left to open the fifth. The third baseman scored after Patrick Wisdom launched one over the left field wall, putting Memphis up 2-0 midway through five.
El Paso answered with a long ball of its own in the bottom of the fifith. But the Redbirds reclaimed a two-run lead the very next inning. Tyler O’Neill singled to right, advancing to second when Nick Martini worked a free pass. It appeared to be all for naught when Diaz hit into what looked like an inning-ending double play, but a missed catch error at first by the pitcher allowed Diaz to reach and O’Neill to score the unearned tally. Shortstop Wilfredo Tovar singled twice in four at bats with a stolen base, the only Redbird with a multi-hit effort.
Continuing the timing theme, despite going just 3-for-17 (.176) in the finals, Wisdom was named the Series MVP – thanks to two key RBI in both Games 1 and 5.
Next game: Tuesday vs. Durham at Scranton, PA, 6:07 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Network.
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