El Paso still trails Fresno 2-1 in the best 3-of-5 Pacific Conference finals going into Saturday night's fourth game in El Paso.
Right-hander Casey Kelley, who was 1-2 with a 6.32 earned run average in three starts with El Paso after being promoted from Double-A San Antonio, will start Saturday night's fourth game for the Chihuahuas, who need to sweep the three games in El Paso to advance to the PCL championships.
Also Saturday night, short-season Single-A Tri-City will host Hillsboro in the second-game of the best 2-of-3 Northwest League championship series. Hillsboro won the series opener Thursday in Oregon. Tri-City needs to win both games in Pasco, Wash., to win the title. Right-hander Emmanuel Ramirez, who is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts since joining Tri-City from the Dominican Republic Summer League, will start Saturday's game for the Dust Devils.
Fresno held a 4-0 lead when host El Paso scored six runs in the fifth before a sellout crowd of 9,305 at Southwest University Park.
Left-handed starter (and former Padre) Robbie Erlin allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk with three strikeouts to get
credited with the win for El Paso. But it was three right-handed relievers who proved decisive, allowing one hit and no walks over the final three innings.
Michael Dimock pitched a perfect seventh. Jay Jackson allowed a hit with a strikeout in a scoreless eighth. And former Padre Dale Thayer struck out two in a perfect ninth to get the save.
Center fielder Rymer Liriano and first baseman Cody Decker drew back-to-walks to open the fifth against 2013 first-round Astros draft pick Mark Appel. Catcher Jason Hagerty followed with a single, but Liriano was thrown out at home to keep the Chihuahuas off the board.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks singled to drive in El Paso's first run. Second baseman Casey McElroy reached base on an error, driving in a second run, and forcing Appel out of the game. Right fielder greeted reliever Travis Ballew to cut the deficit to 4-3 ahead of a bases-loading single by second baseman Ramiro Pena.
Goebbert greeted reliever Chris Cotton with a two-run double to right. After Liriano was walked intentionally to load the bases, Decker was hit by a pitch to force in the sixth run.
McElroy (.214) was 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored. Hagerty (.455) was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Goebbert (.300) was 1-for-3 with the two-run double and a walk. Decker (.100) was 1-for-2 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch with a run scored and a RBI. Pena (.091) was 1-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI. Renfroe (.231) was 1-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored. Middlebrooks (.250) was 1-for-4 with a run scored. And Liriano drew two walks.