The Fresno Grizzlies (46-30) lost a series-opening game for just the fourth time in 20 this season Monday night, as the El Paso Chihuahuas (40-37) reeled off their sixth consecutive win at Southwest University Park. Fresno, still in first place in the Pacific Northern Division by five and a half games, slipped to 23-13 on the road in 2018 as they begin a nine-game trip.
Shane Peterson's sixth homer (two-run), a Luis Urias (2-for-5) RBI single and a Carlos Asuaje sac fly gave El Paso an early 4-0 lead, after a big second inning.
Fresno cut the lead in half in the fourth, on a pair of productive outs. Myles Straw led off with a walk, moving to third on a Kyle Tucker (2-for-3, BB) liner to right field. The base hit extended Tucker's hit streak to 14 games, his season-best and the current club-long. Tucker is batting over .500 during the streak (30-for-59) and only Tony Kemp (20 games) has a longer hit streak for the Grizzlies this season. Straw and Tucker each scored on RBI groundouts, by J.D. Davis and AJ Reed, to make it a 4-2 game. Reed's 67 RBI are the most in Triple-A.
In the fifth, Nick Tanielu belted his first Triple-A homer, a liner out to centerfield. The two run shot tied the game 4-4, with Garrett Stubbs on first after a single. El Paso re-took the lead in the home fifth however, on Peterson's third and fourth RBI of the night. His two-run double made it a 6-4 game. Peterson hit a pair of doubles along with the homer, in a 3-for-4 evening.
Fresno starter Josh James (2-3) lasted 4.2 innings, allowing six (earned) runs on seven hits in El Paso's high elevation. He walked three and struck out six.
The Grizzlies would score in a third consecutive inning in the sixth however, when Tucker led off with his 11th homer of the season to left-center. Tucker's 58 RBI are second only to his teammate Reed in Triple-A. El Paso pulled back in front by two when Allen Craig (2-for-5) singled with the bases loaded and one out in the home sixth, before Fresno turned a double play to escape the jam and further damage.
Chihuahuas starter Brett Kennedy worked six innings, scattering five hits and two walks. He allowed five runs (four earned), striking out three. Still leading 7-5 in the ninth, Brad Wieck struck out a pair to end it, fanning three batters in 1.1 IP for his first PCL save of the season.
The series at El Paso will continue Tuesday with the second of four games, with RHP Brock Dykxhoorn (2-0, 2.35) on the mound for Fresno, against RHP Seth Simmons (0-0, 2.45) for the home side. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PT / 7:05 p.m. CT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.