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Rockies prospect Ryan McMahon homers, Asheville climbs to within two wins of playoff spot

The Tourists are now only two wins away from clinching playoffs after defeating Kannapolis and Charlie was there again.

Kannapolis, N.C. -- The Asheville Tourists competed in a close contest but ultimately earned an 8-6 victory thanks to No. 6 PuRP Ryan McMahon's 17th home run of the season. The win over the White Sox affiliate brought the Tourists to within two games of clinching a playoff spot with a season record of 82-46. The Rockies' Low-A affiliate has won nine of 10 games in the season series against Kannapolis.

Asheville designated hitter Raimel Tapia (PuRP No. 5) kickstarted the offense with a walk in the first and later scored on an RBI single from first basemanCorrelle Prime (PuRP No. 23). The Intimidators responded in the bottom of the first against Tourists starter Konner Wade when former Olympic speedskater Eddy Alvarez forced an error on shortstop Emerson Jimenez and later scored on a RBI fielder's choice. McMahon stopped the bleeding when on the next at-bat, he ranged far to his left to get a groundball, spun into throwing position and fired a dart to Prime for the second out of the inning.

The second inning was when the fireworks happened. The Tourists nearly batted around, sending eight men to the plate and scoring five runs. Catcher Wilfredo Rodriguez (PuRP No. 22) doubled home Dillon Thomas, who walked in the previous at-bat, to open up the scoring. Rodriguez moved to third on a single by Max White and trotted home on a fielder's choice, which allowed Emerson Jimenez to reach first. Jimenez stole second and scored on a Cesar Galvez single, which set the scene for McMahon to launch a two-run bomb over the right-field wall.

The third inning saw the Intimidators roar back and pull the game to within one by scoring four runs. During Kannapolis' scoring onslaught, McMachon was charged with an error on a play he probably should have made, but the ruling was later changed to a hit because he never touched the ball. It was struck, not sharply, to McMahon's left and skipped underneath his glove for a two-run single.

Wade held firm while shutting out his opponents for the next two innings before giving way to piggy-back starter Alex Balog (PuRP No. 18). Wade's season ERA rose slightly to 3.73 after he allowed four earned runs and scattered seven hits in five inning. Balog was better, notching five strikeouts in 3⅔ frames. He allowed just one earned run on three hits. Trent Daniel earned the save by retiring the final batter of the game with a runner on third.

Rodriguez was solid in the bottom half of the order, finishing 2-for-4 with a RBI double and a pair of runs scored. Center fielder Max White went 1-for-3 on the night and gunned down a runner at second base to earn an outfield assist.