The Colorado Springs Sky Sox (72-65) hurt their chances at the Pacific Northern Division title by dropping the series opener to the Sacramento River Cats (82-55) by a score of 8-2, with the duo of A.J. Griffin and Jesse Chavez shutting down the Sox offense to snap the Sox home series opener win streak.
Colorado Springs jumped out to an early lead with Charlie Culberson hitting a solo shot in the bottom of the first, his team-leading 11th extra-base hit in the month of August, but from there River Cats starter A.J. Griffin (4-2, 3.07 ERA) settled down in a big way retiring 12 of the next 13 batters he faced. Griffin was on a Major League rehab in the game and has faced the Sky Sox twice this season, allowing only one earned in 12 total innings, and has won four straight decisions in the Pacific Coast League. Jesse Chavez came in to relieve Griffin and allowed only three hits in a four-inning save, the first time the Sox have allowed a four-inning save since Sacramento also pulled off the feat in May of 2010.
The Sacramento offense was held scoreless for the first three innings of the game by Sox starter Ricky Brooks (0-4, 8.70 ERA), but the River Cats took control of the game very quickly with seven combined runs in the third and the fourth innings. Sacramento capitalized on nine walks by the Sox in the game, and 12 of their 13 hits were singles. The Sky Sox only had three total runners past second base in the entire game, and no Sox batter notched a multi-hit game.
The loss snaps the Sky Sox streak of 11 straight home series opener wins, which was a team record, and drops Colorado Springs record against the River Cats to 4-9 on the season and 1-4 at Security Service Field. The Sky Sox only losing record against a division this season is their 26-31 record against the Pacific Southern Division.
The Sky Sox will look to keep their playoff chances alive as they send out left-hander Nick Schmidt (5-3, 6.58 ERA), who has won five of his last six decisions for the Sox. Schmidt will face off with River Cats righty Dan Straily (5-2, 1.40 ERA), who has allowed only nine earned runs in his nine starts for Sacramento this season, at 6:05 p.m. MT in the second game of the four-game set.
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