El Paso wins PCL Championship Series opener

Third baseman Noonan drives in winning run with sacrifice fly

El Paso wins PCL Championship Series opener

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

The Padres' Triple-A El Paso affiliate scored three times in the bottom of the eighth on Tuesday night to complete a rally from a 5-0 deficit to defeat the Oklahoma City Dodgers, 7-5, in the opener of the best-of-five Pacific Coast League Championship Series.

The second game will be played on Wednesday night at Southwest University Park. Left-hander Frank Garces will start for the Chihuahuas, who have won four straight playoff games.

Francis Parker High grad Nick Noonan drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly after a single by first baseman Diego Goris had tied the game in the eighth. Goris scored the seventh run on a wild pitch.

The Dodgers took a 5-0 lead in the first two innings against right-handed El Paso starter Walker Lockett, who allowed five runs on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Three Chihuahuas relievers worked 3 2/3 hitless innings with two walks and six strikeouts.

El Paso's comeback started with three runs in the bottom of the third, the key hits being an RBI single by Lockett and a three-run double by second baseman Carlos Asuaje.

PCL Most Valuable Player Hunter Renfroe started El Paso's game-winning rally with a one-out single in the eighth. Renfroe moved to second when Patrick Kivlehan reached on an error and scored the tying run on Goris' single to right. A single by Rondon loaded the bases.

Noonan then hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Kivlehan with the go-ahead run.

Left-hander Kyle McGrath followed Lockett and allowed two walks with two strikeouts in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Right-hander Derek Eitel struck out two in a perfect eighth and was credited with the win.

Right-hander Phil Maton struck out two in a perfect ninth to get his second playoff save. Maton, who throws in the high 90s, opened the inning by striking out former Padre Will Venable. Venable had hit a two-run single in the first.

Lockett, McGrath and Maton were all late-season promotions to El Paso.

Renfroe and Rondon were each 2-for-4 with a run scored. Asuaje was 1-for-4 with the three-run double, while Goris was 1-for-4 with his RBI hit. Noonan was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Center fielder Manuel Margot was 1-for-4 with a triple and a walk with a run scored, and he remains the Chihuahuas' leading hitter in the playoffs (.455). Noonan is hitting .368, and Goris is hitting .300.