The 51s took command of the game early Wednesday night and rode a four-run, first inning outburst to a 7-3 victory over El Paso at Cashman Field.
Victor Cruzado led off the game with a single. Gavin Cecchini and Amed Rosario followed with singles.
But on Rosario’s, El Paso starter Zach Lee airmailed the throw to first base, allowing two runs to score.
Two more runs scored when the next two batters, Dominic Smith and Travis Taijeron, doubled.
“I don’t think he probably had his best stuff tonight and he made some mistakes over the middle of the plate and we were able to take advantage of it,” manager Pedro Lopez said of Lee.
The 51s (33-53) tacked on two more runs against Lee, who gave up six runs on 12 hits in his six innings pitched.
A Taijeron RBI single and a Cody Decker sacrifice fly pushed the team’s lead to 6-0 in the third inning.
Taijeron finished the night 4-for-4, adding an inside-the-park home run in the eighth inning.
“I just did whatever my third base coach is telling me,” Taijeron said of his inside-the-park homer. “ Obviously my back is to the ball. I just continued running hard and that’s what (Lopez) told me. I was like ‘OK, let’s go for it I guess.’ I was getting really tired at that point.”
Taijeron has now hit safely in six straight at-bats.
“When you try to help the team win… your stats will come,” Taijeron said. “If you help the team win, you give 100 percent to help the team win, things will start falling into place for you.”
Lopez said he thought Taijeron had been being aggressive lately with pitches he could handle.
“It’s paying off for him right now,” Lopez said. “He’s a big part of our lineup hitting in the middle. I just hope he continues swinging the bat the way he is.”
Taijeron and the offense provided more than enough support for starter Mitch Atkins, who gave up three earned runs in his six-plus inning outing.
“I think that he did a good job,” Lopez said. “He worked ahead, mixed pitches well, pitched inside well to hitters on both sides of the plate and kept those guys off balance.”
Atkins gave up a home run Dusty Coleman in the fifth inning and two more runs in the seventh, when he appeared to tire.
Who: El Paso Chihuahuas at 51s
When: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Cashman Field
Starters: Dillon Overton (1-2, 8.16 ERA) vs. Tyler Pill (4-2, 2.76 ERA)
Friday: Las Vegas at Albuquerque, 6:05 p.m.
Saturday: Las Vegas at Albuquerque, 6:05 p.m.
Sunday: Las Vegas at Albuquerque, 5:05 p.m.
Monday: All-Star break
Tuesday: All-Star break
Tyler Pill, who left his last start after three innings with what manager Pedro Lopez called tightness in his bicep, will take his regular turn on Thursday.
Contact Betsy Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.