Welcome to Colorado Springs Stu Cole. The Colorado Springs Sky Sox welcomed their new skipper to town in grand fashion as they crushed the visiting Tacoma Rainiers by the score of 12-4 on Sunday afternoon at Security Service Field in front of 4,506 fans.
Tacoma scored first when third baseman Chris Shelton drove in Michael Saunders on a single to left field off Sky Sox starter Franklin Morales, who was making a major league rehab start. Morales had a decent showing throwing four innings giving up two runs on five hits and recording five strikeouts. The Rainiers wouldn’t score another run until the fourth when catcher Adam Moore doubled home left fielder Brad Nelson making the score 4-2 Sox. Morales would be replaced by Damian Moss (5-0), who was credited with the win after tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings allowing three hits and striking out one.
Andy Baldwin (3-3), Tacoma’s starting pitcher, didn’t fare as well as Morales as he was rocked by the Sky Sox. The Sox started things off in the first when Carlos Gonzales smoked a two-run homer, his first of two on the day, to right field giving the Sox a 2-1 lead. The Sox would go on to score five more runs on Baldwin, one in the third by way of a Mike McCoy RBI single, another in the fourth coming from an RBI groundout produced by Christian Colonel, two in the fifth when Matt Miller belted a two-run homer, and another in the sixth when Jonathan Herrera recorded an RBI single giving the game a score of 7-2 Sky Sox after six innings of play.
Baldwin left the game after giving up seven runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings of work. He would be relieved by Steve Shell, who had the same bad luck as Baldwin did against the Sox. Shell gave up three runs in the seventh on back to back RBI by Miller and Perez, and then allowed another on a wild pitch giving the Sox a comfortable lead of 10-2.
Tacoma tried to put together a rally in the eighth as they loaded the bases with no outs on Sox reliever Ben Julianel. Julianel gave up two runs, scored by Shelton and second baseman Mike Carp, without recording an out before being replaced in favor of Ryan Mattheus. Mattheus got the job done recording three outs, getting the Sox out of the jam.
The Sky Sox decided they weren’t quite finished with the Rainiers when the bottom of the eighth came up as Gonzalez blasted a towering home run to right field giving him three hits on the day, two of them for homers, with three runs scored and four RBI. Gonzalez’ homer would give the game a final score of 12-4 as the Rainiers did not score a run in the ninth.
The final game of the series will be held tomorrow night at 7:05 PM and will feature right-hander Alan Johnson (5-2, 4.82) of the Sox taking on right-hander Gaby Hernandez (3-3, 4.69) of the Rainiers.