Before El Paso’s Bryan Rodriguez could retire his first batter of the game, the 51s had already built up a four-run lead.
In some games, that might have been enough.
Not on Monday.
El Paso battled back and took a lead before a three-run seventh inning propelled the 51s to a 10-5 victory at Cashman Field.
Pinch-hitter Jayce Boyd jump-started the seventh-inning rally, doubling to lead off the inning.
After Brandon Nimmo struck out, Amed Rosario reached on a single — which extended his hitting streak to 16 — as Las Vegas tied the game at 5-5.
Dominic Smith hit what appeared to be a double-play ball toward first base but Jose Pirela made an error on the play, trying to nab Rosario at second, extending the inning and allowing Boyd to score.
After that, the 51s (21-31) scored another run on Kevin Plawecki’s RBI single and a bases-loaded walk to Desmond Jennings.
Plawecki, who finished the day 3-for-4 with three RBIs, also played a big role in the team’s four-run first inning, driving in two runs with a single up the middle.
“I think (Rodriguez) just left some balls up and guys were able to make good swings on them,” Plawecki said. “Obviously, good to start a game … when you can put up a four spot in the first inning. That helps our pitches calm down a little bit. We battled even when they came back.”
After a single from Nimmo to start the game, the Chihuahuas (24-28) failed to turn a double play on a Rosario ground ball with third baseman Christian Villanueva’s off-target throw to second.
“We were able to get three hits and four runs. I thought that the guys were aggressive early in the count and they did a really good job staying in the middle of the field,” manager Pedro Lopez said. “We weren’t trying to pull so much. We were staying in the middle of the field and got to him.”
That lead lasted until the fourth as El Paso chipped away against starter Ricky Knapp, who allowed three runs in the third inning, two on a Pirela two-run home run and one on a Diego Goris’ RBI single.
A Pirela triple tied the game, driving in Rodriguez, who had reached base on an error by Knapp.
An inning later, four walks, two by Knapp and two by reliever Kevin McGowan, forced in the go-ahead run.
Knapp was uncharacteristically wild in his start, giving up five walks — three more than in any other start this year. He gave up five runs — four earned — in 4 1/3 innings.
“If I would have guessed the outcome of his outing … after I saw that first inning, if I would have put money on it, I would have lost all my money because he had a really good first inning,” Lopez said. “I thought that he was spot-on with all his pitches and then all of a sudden from the third on, he just got in trouble — couldn’t make adjustments and every pitch that he threw, it was belt high and got hit.”
After Knapp, the 51s got scoreless outings from McGowan (2 2/3 innings), Kyle Regnault (2/3) and Chasen Bradford (1 1/3), and plenty of late offense with the three-run rally in the seventh and a Rosario three-run blast in the eighth.
“Everybody did a little something in order for us to come up with a win tonight,” Lopez said. “(We) took advantage of a couple mistakes that they made and were able to put some runs across the board.”
Who: El Paso Chihuahuas at Las Vegas 51s
When: 12:05 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Cashman Field
Starters: Andre Rienzo (0-0, 3.65 ERA) vs. Sean Gilmartin (1-1, 6.43 ERA)
Thursday: Las Vegas at Reno, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: Las Vegas at Reno, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Las Vegas at Reno, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Las Vegas at Reno, 1:05 p.m.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters in New York that left-hander Steven Matz, who threw five perfect innings on Sunday for the 51s, will make one more rehab start. Matz has made three rehab starts (two with Las Vegas) after battling elbow discomfort.
Contact Betsy Helfand at email@example.com. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.