Up 4-1 heading into the eighth inning the Colorado Springs Sky Sox’ (50-44) bullpen gave up six unanswered runs to fall to the Salt Lake Bees (53-43), 7-5, in the second game of the series in front of 5,262 fans on Friday Night Fireworks Night.
The Sky Sox got out front early when Reid Brignac smacked a double and then scored on an error by the third baseman Roberto Lopez. Salt Lake tied it up in the top of the next inning, but the Sox continued to pile up runs in the next two innings. In his first game back since being optioned down from the Rockies, outfielder Corey Dickerson blasted a home run with two outs in the third. Ryan Wheeler followed up Dickerson’s blast with a double and then crossed home on a Xavier Nady RBI single.
Colorado Springs added one more run in the fourth when Tim Wheeler led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a single by Charlie Culberson.
With a three run lead, Collin McHugh continued his strong effort on the mound, getting an inning ending double play in the fifth and striking out two in the sixth. The righty was replaced by Hisanori Takahashi in the seventh and finished the day going six innings, only allowing three hits, one run, two walks while striking out six batters. The former New York Met, now has a 3.08 ERA in two starts with Colorado Springs this season.
Takahashi picked up right where McHugh left off, striking out the first two batters he faced and then getting former Sky Sox’ infielder, Tommy Field to fly out to end the seventh inning. The lefty reliever came back out to pitch in the eighth and struggled right away, walking Andrew Romine and then allowing back-to-back doubles to Kole Calhoun and Efren Navarro to bring the Bees within one run. After Navarro’s double, Coty Woods (L, 3-2) entered the game and immediately gave up the game-tying single to Luis Rodriguez.
In the bottom of the eighth the Sox’ offense came up empty for the fourth straight inning. The Bees’ offense continued to plague the Sky Sox’ bullpen in the top of the ninth. Woods struck out the first batter in the inning, but then gave up a single, a wild pitch and a walk to put two men on with only one out. Kole Calhoun then came up and hit a RBI single to left field to give the Bees the lead. For the second straight inning Rodriguez came to the plate and delivered a crushing blow to the Sox, this time sending a two-run single into right field to cap off their three-run ninth.
Ryan Wheeler aimed to make things interesting in the bottom of the inning when he smacked a single with two outs. Nady followed that up with a double and Ben Paulsen decreased the deficit to two with a RBI single, but the offense came up short as Ryan Brasier (W, 5-2), struck out Greg Golson to end the game.
Tomorrow Aaron Cook (0-4, 7.20) will start for the Sox in hopes of winning the team’s first game of the series. Opposing Cook will be right-hander Matt Shoemaker (7-10, 4.62). First pitch for Used Car Night is scheduled at 6:05 PM MT.
Sky Sox Notes: Tonight’s loss marks the first time the team has lost at home while being ahead after the seventh inning. Before tonight the Sox were 17-0 at Security Service Field when leading after seven…Ben Paulsen was one of seven Sky Sox players to have multi-hit games tonight and extended his hitting streak to nine games.