El Paso Chihuahuas top Albuquerque Isotopes

PLAYLIST: EL PASO CHIHUAHUAS 2017
PLAYLIST: EL PASO CHIHUAHUAS 2017
PLAYLIST: EL PASO CHIHUAHUAS 2017
PLAYLIST: EL PASO CHIHUAHUAS 2017
PLAYLIST: EL PASO CHIHUAHUAS 2017
PLAYLIST: EL PASO CHIHUAHUAS 2017
PLAYLIST: EL PASO CHIHUAHUAS 2017
(Photo: Courtesy El Paso Chihuahuas)

The El Paso Chihuahuas formula for a 4-2 victory over Albuquerque Tuesday was reasonably standard.

In a game that started 35 minutes later after a rainless rain delay, they got just enough offense early and enough pitching throughout to hang on to a lead they built in the first four innings and send a crowd of 7,080 home happy.

It was a nice start to the four-game series against the Isotopes that got off to a late start because of threatening skies.

Chris Huffman gave up one run in five and a third innings to get the win and Kevin Quackenbush got a six-out save after Albuquerque inched back in the game.

With the lead at 3-2, Ryan Schimpf, who had struck out in his first three at-bats, gave El Paso a margin for error with a blast that bounced off the third floor of the Big Dog House in right field. Before that Quackenbush settled El Paso with a quick eighth inning after Albuquerque had scored in back-to-back innings in the sixth and seventh to join the battle.

Quackenbush, the most transacted player in Chihuahua history, faced four batters in the ninth to close the game.

El Paso had a lead to play with after scratching out a run in three of the first four innings to stake Huffman.

The Chihuahuas had a chance for a big inning in the first when Travis Jankowski led off with a single, Chase D’Arnaud was hit by a pitch and Franchy Cordero moved them with a ground out. But with runners on second and third and one out, Christian Villanueva was a victim of a sensational diving catch by Isotope left fielder Mike Tauchman, who robbed Villanueva of what looked like a certain extra-base, two-RBI hit.

As it was, it did drive in a tagging Jankowski.

D’Arnaud led off the third with a home run to the deepest part of the park as it just cleared the wall in center field.

In the fourth, El Paso got a timely two-out RBI single from Jankowski that redeemed a fortuitous break on the base paths. With one out and Rocky Gale on second following a double, Huffman tried to bunt him to third but Gale was hung up in a rundown.

Gale was able to stay alive long enough for Huffman to barely beat a throw to second after Gale was tagged out. On Jankowski’s single, a good throw would have had Huffman but the throw sailed wide of the plate and allowed him to score.

Then the Isotopes began to claw back.

Cody Decker played against the El Paso Chihuahuas as a member of the Las Vegas 51s

Huffman ran into a bit of bad luck that drove him from the game in the bottom of the sixth. With one out and Tauchman on first after a single, Jordan Patterson hit a grounder right down the first base line that in fact hit first base and went as a double that put Tauchman on third.

Derrick Gibson then grounded to first, and the first baseman Villanueva made the optimistic decision to throw home. Tauchman was easily after and that left runners on first and second.

Jason Jester came on in relief and immediately got a break on the base paths when Gibson was caught stealing on a close play at second. Jester then struck out Tom Murphy to escape the inning with a 3-1 lead.

Another run came off of that in the seventh when Daniel Castro led off with a double and scored on a one-out single from Ramiel Tapia off of reliever Aroni Nina.

The two teams play again at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night at Southwest University Park.

El Paso remains two back of first place Salt Lake in the Pacific Coast League Southern Division. Salt Lake defeated Tacoma, 9-5, on Tuesday.

Bret Bloomquist may be reached at 546-6359; bbloomquist@elpasotimes.com; @bretbloomquist on Twitter.

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