Despite a late rally attempt from the Las Vegas 51s (36-28), the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (28-35) rolled to an 11-5 victory Monday night thanks to 15 hits and a near-cycle from recently-promoted Tim Smalling.
In the eighth, the 51s were able to take advantage of a Sky Sox error and plate two runs from an RBI-groundout by SS Omar Quintanilla and an RBI-single by 2B Josh Satin. After 1B Allan Dykstra drew a walk against RHP Brooks Brown, 3B Zach Lutz came to the plate representing the tying run as Las Vegas trailed 8-5. However, Brown induced a ground ball to end the threat.
The Sky Sox quickly rebounded, putting the game out of reach with three runs in the bottom of the eighth, including an RBI-double from CF Jason Pridie and a two-run single from 1B Ben Paulsen to end the scoring.
RHP Mike McClendon (1-0) made a strong return to the Sky Sox, the team with which he spent the entire 2013 season with. McClendon, who was released during Spring Training, resigned with the Rockies and made a start with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers before rejoining the Sox.
The 29-year-old tossed five strong innings giving up three runs on six hits, while striking out four and walking two. The three runs all came off two home runs from 3B Zach Lutz (7) and CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (9) in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Sky Sox received offensive production from the much of the lineup including three hits from both Smalling and Pridie.
Smalling, who was promoted from Tulsa last week, has multi-hit affairs in both games he appeared in, including Monday when he fell a home run shy of the cycle. The utility man went three-for-three in his first three at-bats, including an RBI-double in the second and an RBI-triple in the third. He finished with two runs and two RBI before grounding out to third in his last time to the dish. On Saturday, he went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and two RBI.
Leading 6-0 through three, the 51s got on the board for the first time thanks to Lutz’s lead-off home run at the start of the fourth. They then tacked on two more in the fifth courtesy of Nieuwenhuis’ two-run shot in the fifth, but little damage was done since Paulsen was able to hit a sacrifice fly to score Nina, and the Sox scored another run in the fifth to keep lead 8-3.
Las Vegas starter RHP Rafael Montero (4-2) lasted just three innings, allowing six hits, though only one was earned, on seven hits while striking out three and walking two.
Five Sky Sox players recorded multi-hit games, including Pridie, Smalling, 3B Rafael Ynoa, 2B Angelys Nina and SS Drew Garcia.
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox will face off against the Las Vegas 51s again at 7:05 p.m. (MT) Tuesday. LHP Pedro Hernandez (4-2, 5.50 ERA) takes the mound against RHP Giancarlo Alvarado (1-2, 6.15 ERA).
- Through two games, Smalling is five-for-eight with three extra-base hits (2-2B, 1-3B) and four RBI, while scoring three times.
- With Rafael Ynoa’s two hits on Monday, he now has four multi-hit affairs in his last six games — all from the leadoff spot. During that span, Ynoa is hitting .417 (10-for-24) to improve his season batting average to .262 (32-for-122). In his 10 games from the top spot in the lineup, Ynoa is hitting .302 (13-for-43).
- In his Major League debut on Monday, RHP Christian Bergman tossed six quality innings, allowing just two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks. However, he picked up the loss against the Atlanta Braves as the Rockies fell, 3-1.