In his first rehab start since being placed on the DL, right fielder Carlos Gonzalez helped lead the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (41-50) to their sixth win in July, beating the Round Rock Express (45-44), 6-4, on Monday night in Round Rock.
Gonzalez, who has been out since June 4th after having a tumor surgically removed from his left index finger, doubled in his first at-bat and launched a three-run homer in the fifth inning to give the Sky Sox a 4-1 lead.
In the following at-bat, Ben Paulsen smacked his 15th home run of the season off of Justin German (3-8) to give the Sox a 5-1 lead. It was the fourth time this season that two Sky Sox players hit back-to-back homers. Over the last two years, there have been eight occurrences where the Sky Sox have hit two homers in row with Paulsen having been involved in seven of them.
LHP Brett Anderson (1-0) also made a rehab start for the Sky Sox — his second — and tossed five and two-thirds strong innings, while allowing just one run on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk. He threw just 77 pitches with 49 crossing the plate for strikes.
Anderson has been sharp throughout his two rehab starts with the Express’ third-inning run being the only run to score against the 26-year-old lefty in nine and one-third innings.
LHP Christian Friedrich came on and tossed 3.1 innings in relief in his first appearance since being optioned down by Colorado.
To his first batter in relief, Friedrich allowed a solo homer to Ryan Rua before getting Brett Nicholas to ground out. In the seventh, Friedrich gave up another solo-homer to Brent Lillilibridge to leadoff the inning.
Friedrich also got out of trouble in the eighth and ninth innings to pick up his first professional save.
The 26-year-old lefty allowed a leadoff single and a double in the next at-bat, but was able to get out of the eighth unharmed as he struck out two batters and got Nicholas to ground out again. In the final frame, he loaded the bases up with no outs and allowed a run off an Engel Beltre single, but once again got out of a tight jam with a pop out, strikeout and a flyout.
As well as Gonzalez, Ben Paulsen, Jason Pridie and Rafael Ynoa each recorded two hits in the affair.
RHP Brett Tomko (2-0, 3.57 ERA) will take on LHP Ryan Feierabend (7-5, 4.54 ERA) as the Sky Sox take on Round Rock in game two of the four-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. (MT).
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