Charlie Blackmon has caught fire this July and turned his season around.
AAA Colorado Springs – W 13-6, (50-48, 2nd, 8.0 GB)
While the humidor at Security Service Field seemed to do its job early in the season, it has done little to quell the explosive offensive performances we’ve seen recently at Sky Sox home games. During the last seven games played in this park, Colorado Springs has scored 70 runs (10 runs per game) and allowed 52 (7.43 runs per game). On this night, #15 PuRP Charlie Blackmon, who out of nowhere has posted a 1.054 OPS in July, stayed hot and led the charge with three hits, a home run, and a walk. He wasn’t the only Sky Sox player to reach base four times though as both Hernan Iribarren and Brendan Harris also accomplished the feat. Tommy Field and Matt McBride also each had multi hit games while both Chad Tracy and Wilkin Castillo went deep.
As much as this night was about the bats, #30 PuRP Rob Scahill did something noteworthy too. He has now very quietly posted four "quality starts" in a row. This time he scattered five hits over 6.0 IP and only allowed two earned runs – And the one walk he held the Rainiers to last night was the first time in a month that he allowed fewer than three free passes in a game.
AA Tulsa – L 2-1, (12-15 (Second Half), 3rd, 6.5 GB)
Brandon Hynick was solid again for Tulsa but the two runs he allowed over six innings were too much on this night as the Driller offense was held to less than two runs for the third time in the last eight games. #1 PuRP Nolan Arenado took his 7th 0-4 performance of the month in this one, matching the total number of hits he’s recorded for the entire month of July. Unfortunately, this included a very costly double play in the 9th after the first two men had reached. The one silver lining here though is that Arenado has walked more than he’s struck out in July so at least some of his slump may be due to bad luck.
Both #14 PuRP Cory Dickerson and #26 PuRP Ben Paulsen were on base twice with a hit and a walk as Paulsen also provided the only RBI of the night for Tulsa, a double that immediately followed the Arenado double play. He would be stranded in scoring position to end the game though as Tim Torres lined out to left field two batters later.
High-A Modesto – L 6-5, (13 innings), (17-12 (Second Half), 1st)
Early on, this game looked like it was going to be another disastrous performance from #4 PuRP Tyler Matzek, as two runs had already crossed the plate before he could get out of the first frame. But this time the young lefty held it together, making it through six innings and only allowing one more run. It certainly wasn’t his greatest outing, but at least he battled and kept his team in the game. The trend of Matzek suddenly becoming hittable continued in this game though as he gave up seven more. Over his last 34.2 innings pitched, Matzek has surrendered 49 hits (1.41 hits per inning). This after only giving up 44 hits in his first 69 innings pitched this year (0.64 hits per inning).
Once Matzek departed, the game got wild as the Nuts actually came back and took the lead on #12 PuRP Rafael Ortega’s 5th home run of the season in the 8th. But Nick Schnaitmann was unable to close out the game in the 9th and it went into extras tied at five. It would remain that way until the 13th when Kraig Sitton was tagged with the loss after giving up a triple and a single. (#10 PuRP Kyle Parker went 0-4 but did get on base twice with a pair of walks.)
Low-A Asheville – W 11-3, (16-12 (Second Half), 2nd, 0.5 GB)
It was an all around excellent night for the Tourists at the plate as every starter had at least one hit (and most had at least two). #3 PuRP Trevor Story had the best game going 3-3 with a double and two walks, but others weren’t far behind. #21 PuRP Harold Riggins, #23 PuRP Sam Mende, and Jordan Ribera all hit home runs while Tyler Massey, Jordan Simon, and David Kandilas also tacked on multi hit efforts. On the mound, Ben Alsup worked into and out of trouble all night. Despite seven hits and three walks, he was somehow able to get through 6.2 innings while only giving up one run.
Tri-City – W 2-1, (16-19, 2nd, 4.0 GB)
The all but forgotten Peter Tago turned in his most encouraging start of the year as he threw eight innings of shutout ball. Groundouts were the key as he induced 16 of them compared to just three fly outs and two strikeouts. Offensively, the only Dust Devil runs came in the third inning off the bat of Miguel De Leon as he hit a double that scored both #16 PuRP Rosell Herrera and Tom Murphy.
Grand Junction – W 10-5, (16-15, 2nd, 2.0 GB)
Todd Helton made a rehab start in Grand Junction last night and it went about as we could have hoped. In three plate appearances, Todd had two hits and a walk before being replaced for a pinch runner. David Dahl, Juan Ciriaco, Jeffery Popick, Matt Wessinger, and Chris Cowell all also had two hits apiece.
Antonio Senzatela pitched five strong innings without allowing an earned run but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead as Carlos Esteves and Angel Reyes coughed it up in the late innings. Offensively, Wilkyns Jimenez had the only multi hit game for the Rockies as much of the effort on this side of the ball was helped by four Oriole errors.