The Colorado Springs Sky Sox (62-64) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and were able to hang on to defeat the Tacoma Rainiers (68-61), 5-2, to take the third game of the series.
Right before the game started third baseman Ryan Wheeler was scratched from the lineup, putting first baseman Ben Paulsen in the cleanup spot for only the eighth time this season. The change paid huge dividends for the Sky Sox early in the contest. With the game knotted at zero entering the third inning, Tim Wheeler doubled on a line drive with one out. Jose Gonzalez, who was pinch-hitting for Jordan Pacheco, walked to put two men on for Paulsen. The clean-up hitter proceeded to blast his 13th dinger of the season to give the team a 3-0 lead for the second straight day.
Colorado Springs continued to build their lead in the fifth inning when they strung together three straight singles off of Andrew Carraway (L, 6-6) to bring home a run. They tacked on their fifth run of the afternoon when Tacoma's starter threw a wild pitch.
Staked to a five-run lead, starting pitcher Sean Gallagher (W, 1-2) was lights out for the Sox for the first five innings. In the bottom of the sixth the righty struck out his eighth batter of the day to begin the frame, but then Jesus Sucre reached on a fielding error by Tim Wheeler. The team got their second out of the inning on another strikeout, but Gallagher walked Joseph Dunigan and then gave up a RBI single to Nate Tenbrink. Tacoma's second run of the day scored on an error by Drew Garcia. The error was the end for Gallagher who was replaced by Mitchell Boggs. Boggs walked the first batter he faced, but then forced Ty Kelly to fly out to end the inning.
The righty came back out in the seventh and combined with Mike McClendon to shutout the team for the final innings. Tacoma ended up leaving 13 runners on base and could not capitalize on the Sky Sox' three errors.
Colorado Springs will aim to tie the series up at two games apiece tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. MT when they sound out right hander Collin McHugh (2-1, 4.15) against righty Hector Noesi (3-2, 6.75).