The Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate Fresno Grizzlies were one bad inning away from clinching a spot in the PCL Championship on Friday. The El Paso Chihuahuas were not to go down easy, though, as they rallied for six runs in the fifth inning en route to a 6-4 victory over Fresno.
In the first inning, the Grizzlies spotted Mark Appel a two-run lead. Tony Kemp and Alex Presley led off with back-to-back singles before Tyler White followed with a single of his own to score Kemp. With one out, Matt Duffy grounded out to first base but scored Alex Presley.
The Grizzlies were able to extend their lead to three in the second after Nolan Fontana walked and was able to score after Kemp and Presley again followed with back-to-back singles.
Appel ran into some trouble in the third inning, allowing the first two batters to reach, but then struck out the side. The righty was only able to escape danger for so long though as the team imploded in the fifth.
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After the Grizzlies tacked on a run in the top frame of the fifth to take a 4-0 lead, the Chihuahuas opened the bottom frame with two consecutive walks before the offense exploded for six runs on five hits, an error, an intentional walk, and a hit by pitch. Appel ended his night throwing 4 1/3 innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks before the bullpen tried to tamper El Paso with little success.
The game remained scoreless after the fifth inning, and the Grizzlies recorded only one more hit as they dropped the contest. The team will have two more chances in El Paso to clinch a spot in the PCL Championship. Brett Oberholtzer will take the mound for the Grizzlies in Game 4 tonight.