The Colorado Springs Sky Sox (44-44) broke out of their offensive slump over the last two games against the Reno Aces (53-37) in a big way with the Sky Sox blasting three homers, including a grand slam by starting pitcher Edwar Cabrera, to move back in to a second place tie with Salt Lake in the Pacific Northern Division.
Cabrera (2-0, 3.86 ERA), who was making his debut at Security Service Field, earned his second win in as many career Triple-A starts going five innings allowing four runs to the top-ranked offense in the Pacific Coast League, but it was his fourth inning grand slam against Aces starter Charles Brewer (4-6, 5.92 ERA) with two outs on a first pitch fastball that proved to be crucial in the game. It was the second time a Sky Sox pitcher has gone deep for a grand slam, as Brian Conroy first performed the feat all the way back on July 23, 1994 at Phoenix, and it was the first grand slam for a Colorado Springs pitcher at Security Service Field. Cabrera had two career hits coming in to the game, both this year while with Double-A Tulsa, but the slam was his first extra-base hit in his career.
Sky Sox catcher Matt McBride and Andrew Brown also went deep in the game, with McBride smashing a two-run homer in the fifth inning to give the Sox their largest lead of the game at 8-2 and Brown hitting a solo shot in the seventh for his team-leading 17th long ball of the year. Brown has a home run in four of his last six games and with his RBI double in the first inning he now has 78 RBI on the season, second most in the PCL and tied with Joe Koshansky during the 2008 season for the most RBI a Sky Sox player has totaled before the All-Star Break since the 2005 season. Brown extended his team-leading on-base streak to 27 games, the second longest active streak in the PCL and the longest streak by a Sky Sox player since Jonathan Herrera’s 30-game on-base streak during the 2009 season.
The Sox entered the ninth inning leading the Aces 9-5 but Reno showed why it has totaled the most runs in the league this year by nearly staging a comeback, with the Aces scoring two on a double with the bases loaded by shortstop Taylor Harbin that nearly left the yard and nearly tied the game. After the Aces scored on a fielding error by the Sox to tighten the game to 9-8, the Sox turned a 6-4-3 double play to seal the win and get their record back to .500 on the season. Sox reliever Zach Putnam notched his team-leading 12th save of the season in the game.
With the Salt Lake Bees losing 13-5 to the Tacoma Rainiers, the win moves the Sky Sox back in to a second place tie as well as forcing a series-deciding game in the series finale on Sunday. In the game, the Sox will send out right-hander Rob Scahill (6-9, 5.99 ERA) to match up with Reno righty Barry Enright (7-5, 5.66 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. MT.