Renfroe homers twice, but Triple-A El Paso eliminated

Tri-City wins, reaches Northwest League title game

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Hunter Renfroe hit two home runs, but Triple-A El Paso dropped a 7-4 decision to Fresno at Southwest University Park in El Paso Saturday night to be eliminated from the Pacific Coast League playoffs.

Meanwhile, short-season Single-A Tri-City will host the Northwest League championship game Sunday night after defeating Hillsboro 4-2 in Pasco, Wash., Saturday night to even the best 2-of-3 series at 1-1.

Fresno won the best 3-of-5 Pacific Conference finals 3-1.

Renfroe, the Padres' first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2013 Draft, accounted for all four El Paso runs with his second and third homers in the four-game playoff series capping an impressive month at Triple-A.

Including the four playoff games, Renfroe hit .327 (35-107) in 25 games with the Chihuahuas with five doubles, two triples and nine home runs with 30 RBIs and 19 runs scored. He had a .676 slugging percentage and a .363 on-base percentage for a 1.039 OPS.

Renfroe was 5-for-17 (.294) in the playoffs with three homers for six RBIs and four runs scored.

Shortstop Hector Gomez (.200) was also 2-for-4 Saturday night for the Chihuahuas before 8,392 in el Paso. Pinch-hitter Casey McElroy (.267) was 1-for-1 with a run scored. Left fielder Jake Goebbert (.286) was 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Starting right-hander Casey Kelly allowed five runs on four hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings to suffer the loss. El Paso used six relievers. Right-hander Dale Thayer gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits in the top of the eighth, as Fresno took a 7-1 lead ahead of Renfroe's three-run homer in the bottom of the inning.

Designated hitter Nick Vitter (.500) was 2-for-4 with his first homer with two RBIs and two runs scored. Left fielder Henry Charles (.474) was 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI. Right fielder Justin Pacchioli (.211) was 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI. Vitter tied the game at 2 with his homer in the fifth and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on Pacchioli's two-out single. First baseman Ty France (.263) was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Center fielder Rod Boykin (.333) was 1-for-3 with a walk. Shortstop Peter Van Gansen (.313) was 1-for-4.

After right-handed starter Emmanuel Ramirez allowed two runs on two hits and two walks with a strikeout in the first inning, the Dust Devils bullpen allowed three hits and three walks with nine strikeouts over eight scoreless innings.

Right-hander Brett Kennedy allowed a hit and a walk with two strikeouts in three innings. Left-hander Elvin Liriano allowed a hit and two walks with two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings. Right-hander Wilson Santos struck out three in 2 2/3 perfect innings to get the win. Right-hander Phil Maton struck out two in a perfect ninth to record the save.

All four Tri-City relievers have 0.00 earned run averages through Tri-City's 3-1 playoff run. Left-hander Jose Castillo, who had a 3-1 record with a 3.61 record in 13 games (12 starts) during the regular season, will start Sunday night's decisive third game for Tri-City.