The Colorado Springs Sky Sox (53-48) swept a doubleheader with the Tacoma Rainiers (41-60), winning the first game with a late-inning offensive surge 9-6 and taking the final game of the pair with their tenth walk-off win on a bases-loaded RBI single by Sky Sox third baseman Brendan Harris to complete the sweep with a 3-2 extra-inning win. The Sky Sox have swept two of their three doubleheaders this season and are now at a season-high five games above .500.
With the two wins on the day Sky Sox manager Stu Cole moved in to second place all-time in managerial wins at 225 in his nearly four seasons at the helm of Colorado Springs. Cole passed former Sox manager Tom Runnels, the man who Cole replaced halfway through the 2009 season. Cole now trails only Sky Sox Hall of Famer Brad Mills, the last manager to win a PCL Championship for the Sky Sox, who totaled 271 regular season wins and 276 total wins for the Sky Sox. Cole is one of only three Colorado Springs managers with 200 regular season wins in the 25-year history of the team.
The walk-off win came after the Rainiers and Sky Sox both scored a pair of runs in the first inning, but both teams were held scoreless for the next seven and one half innings until the Sox started off the bottom of the eighth inning with two straight singles that forced the Rainiers to walk leftfielder Hernan Iribarren to load the bases for Harris. It was the second time this season that Harris has been the batter for a Sky Sox walk-off win with the bases loaded, with the infielder winning a game on June 2 against the Tucson Padres with a hit by pitch with the bases loaded. The RBI single was Harris second of the game, and he now has totaled the fifth most RBI on the season for the Sox at 36.
In the early contest of the afternoon, the Sky Sox jumped out to an early lead with a three-run second inning after the Rainiers started the scoring on the day with a run in the top of the frame. When the Sky Sox extended their lead to 4-1 after the third inning the Rainiers battled back with a three-run inning of their own to tie the game at 4-4, but in the fifth inning Sox centerfielder Charlie Blackmon broke up the tie with a RBI single then utility player Matt McBride smacked his eighth homer of the season to give the Sox a lead they would not relinquish after adding two more insurance runs in the sixth.
McBride ranks second on the team with 61 RBI and is tied with Chad Tracy for the second most homers, and leads the team with 116 hits which ranks eighth in the PCL. With a hit in both contests McBride extended his team-high hitting streak to 16 games, one shy of the season high for any Sky Sox player this season set by Tim Wheeler at 17 games. McBride and Blackmon are tied for the second most hits in the PCL in the month of July at 29, with the players posting an identical .403 average this month.
The Sky Sox posted at least ten hits in both games of the doubleheader, with Colorado Springs topping that mark in 18 of their last 23 home games. The Sky Sox will look for an impressive five-game series sweep as they send out right-hander Alex White (1-4, 4.73 ERA) against Mariners number one overall prospect in left-hander Danny Hultzen (1-1, 3.52 ERA), who the Sky Sox roughed up for five runs in three innings in his first career Triple-A start on June 23. The game will finish out the nine-game homestand and will begin at 12:35 p.m. MT.