The 51s were forced into a bullpen game early.
And though the Las Vegas relievers couldn’t hold on to an early lead, they made the most of a second chance and the 51s hung on for an 8-7 victory over El Paso in the first game of a four-game set at Southwest University Park.
Rain rolled through El Paso early in the game, prompting a lengthy delay of 1:07.
The delay forced both Las Vegas starter Wilfredo Boscan and El Paso starter Kyle Lloyd out of the game in the second inning. At the time, the 51s held a 5-1 lead.
Lloyd pitched the first two innings for the Chihuahuas (57-62), giving up two runs in the first as Las Vegas (45-74) scored on a Matt Reynolds RBI single and Travis Taijeron’s 23rd home run of the year.
He gave up another three runs in the second inning on a two-run shot from Victor Cruzado and a Phillip Evans RBI single before the rain ended his night.
“I think that we had a good game plan going into the game and we executed,” manager Pedro Lopez said. “Our game plan was trying to stay up the middle, see the ball up and we did that.”
Boscan left after 1 2/3 innings having given up one run in the first.
After Boscan, the 51s threw out Kyle Regnault (2 1/3 innings), Luis Mateo (one), Ben Rowen (two), Alberto Baldonado (one) and Kevin McGowan (one) in the winning effort.
“I thought everybody did a good job. I thought the guy that (made) the biggest contribution was Regnault,” Lopez said. “He came in after Boscan left the game because of the rain delay and goes out there for 2 1/3 and did a really good job. He ran into a little trouble in the fourth inning but made good pitches to get a double play to get out of it.”
Regnault gave up one run iin the fourth before Mateo came in and gave up three in the fifth on four hits as the Chihuahuas tied the game.
“Unfortunately Mateo came in and everything was up, but then Rowen and Baldonado and McGowan all did a good job,” Lopez said.
Mateo left with the win, despite giving up the three runs, as the 51s surged ahead in the sixth inning and didn’t look back.
Former Chihuahua Cody Decker hit a solo home run and the 51s also scored on a Gavin Cecchini RBI groundout and another RBI single from Evans in the frame.
The Chihuahuas made it close, scoring in the bottom of the sixth and in the eighth, but McGowan came in in the ninth and nailed down his fourth save of the year as the 51s picked up their second straight win.
“The one thing I’ve always told them (is) ‘We’re playing until somebody tells us we’re not,’” Lopez said. “They did that. They came out especially after a tough travel day today and they stayed focused and they executed the game plan, not only with Lloyd but everybody else that came in. We stayed up the middle with the approach and had a really good night at the plate.”
Who: 51s at El Paso Chihuahuas
When: 6:05 p.m.
Where: Southwest University Park
Starters: Ricky Knapp (6-13, 6.24 ERA) vs. Jordan Lyles (0-0, 20.25 ERA)
Sunday: Las Vegas at El Paso, 5:05 p.m.
Monday:Las Vegas at El Paso, 6:05 p.m.
Tuesday: Las Vegas at Fresno, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Las Vegas at Fresno, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: Las Vegas at Fresno, 7:05 p.m.
Mets shortstop Amed Rosario, recently promoted from the 51s, went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and his first major league home run in a victory over Philadelphia. First baseman Dominic Smith had a single in his big-league debut.
Contact Betsy Helfand at email@example.com. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.