The Colorado Springs Sky Sox (73-67) put themselves on the brink of playoff elimination with a 3-2 loss to the Sacramento River Cats (84-56) in the series finale, ending the season series losing 11 of the 16 meetings with Sacramento this year.
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki made his second appearance for the Sky Sox in his Major League rehab, while Jason Giambi had the night off, and Tulowitzki singled in his first at-bat of the night but popped out to the infield in his final two plate appearances of the game. Tulowitzki is now 5-for-8 in his three games for the Sky Sox this season, with at least one hit in all three games, and for his career with Colorado Springs the Rockies superstar is now 9-for-19 (.474) in his seven total games dating all the way back to the 2008 season. Tulowitzki and Giambi will both continue their rehab assignments in Friday’s game against Las Vegas.
The Sky Sox and River Cats traded sacrifice flies in the first three innings of the game, but in the fourth a two-out error by the Sox led to two Sacramento runs in the inning that proved to be the difference in the game. The Sox attempted a comeback in the fifth inning after outfielder Tim Wheeler tripled and Charlie Culberson hit a ground rule double in the next at-bat to drive Wheeler in, but Tulowitzki and Matt McBride, the Sox leader in batting average, were retired in order to end the threat. After the fifth, the Sox only managed one hit and no runners past first base for the remainder of the game to drop the game and lose the series.
With the ground rule double Culberson extended his team-high hitting to 12 games, which is the fourth longest hitting streak of any Sox player this season. Culberson has a hit in 23 of the 26 games since being acquired by the Rockies on July 28 for Marco Scutaro, and his 33 hits in the month of August are second on the team trailing only Wheeler’s 35 hits. Culberson and Wheeler are also tied with shortstop Tommy Field for the most extra-base hits of any Colorado Springs player in August with 12.
One more Sky Sox loss or Reno Aces win will eliminate the Sox from Pacific Northern Division race and end their playoff push. Colorado Springs now welcomes the Las Vegas 51s to Security Service Field for their final series of the season, and in the series opener the Sox will send out right-hander Cory Riordan (3-2, 4.74 ERA), who has won three of his last four starts and is coming off his first Triple-A shutout start in his last outing. Riordan will face Vegas righty Scott Richmond (10-7, 5.83 ERA) with the action kicking off at 7:05 p.m. MT.