Eddie Butler did as much as he possibly could to net the Nuts another victory over San Jose, but some bad defense and a bullpen blowup late in the game cost Butler the W.
Butler lasted his standard five innings and allowed four hits and a walk while keeping the Giants off the board. He racked up six strikeouts while inducing four ground outs compared to two fly outs. Since a pair of rough outings at the end of May, Butler has given up five earned runs in 33 innings while striking out 36 batters and walking only six.
Modesto jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a two-out error by San Jose, but the Nuts were unable to get on the board again until the ninth inning, when Harold Riggins hit his 13th homer of the year. Unfortunately, that came after Geoff Parker and Nelson Gonzalez combined to surrender five runs in the final three innings.
Taylor Featherston was ejected in the bottom of the third inning by the home plate umpire after being called out on strikes.
The Sky Sox were shut down by Seattle Mariners top prospect Taijuan Walker. Walker struck out eight batters in five scoreless innings, surrendering just two hits while walking a pair. Colorado Springs managed just six hits overall, and Lars Davis' solo home run in the eighth inning accounted for the team's only run. Ben Paulsen paced the offense with a pair of hits, including his 18th double.
Sean Gallagher picked up the win by tossing seven scoreless innings in which he allowed only two hits and struck out four. Gallagher walked four batters but worked around the traffic by inducing 10 ground ball outs and getting the benefit of a couple of double plays.
Dan Houston struck out three in two perfect innings in relief to preserve the victory.
Wilfredo Rodriguez had three hits and drove in the Dust Devils' only run, but it wasn't enough for Tri-City, which totaled just six hits. Michael Benjamin had two of those, one of which was a double -- the Dust Devils' only extra-base hit of the game.
Johendi Jiminian lasted five innings and allowed three runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out five. The bullpen combined for four innings of scoreless relief, with Bruce Kern's performance being the best of the three. Kern struck out a pair of batters in a perfect eighth inning.
Our own Drew Creasman was in attendance for this vintage Pioneer League slugfest. Here is his write-up:
Joel Payamps definitely struggled at times but was not helped at all by his defense. The first run of the game came via a walk followed by a ground ball triple down the first base line. The player who hit the triple was driven in on a single to right field that was a "you take it, no you take it" ball between first and second that could have been fielded by either player but alas was not grabbed by anyone.
GJ struck back in the bottom of the first when Briceno hit a one-hopper to the left field fence for a double and was singled in by Ryan McMahon who was first-pitch swinging at a fastball and hit it hard on the ground into center field.
The second inning began with an E-4 followed by an RBI double that should have been a flyout if not for left fielder Terry McLure losing the ball in the sun. Then, an infield single that should also have been converted into an out and catcher Jose Briceno's two dropped pitches brought in runs. After that, Payamps really settled down and more or less contolled the Owlz until being removed from the game after striking out the final two batters he faced.
Briceno struggled behind the plate again but hit three doubles and one no-doubt home run that spun inside the left field foul pole and would have cleared the wall at any major league stadium. He plays with a lot of energy and fire, and really squared up the ball up tonight.
McMahon drew two walks in the game, including one late with the contest still in the balance where he fouled off several pitches (five by my count) before finally drawing the walk. He would come around to score on a pair of passed balls.
Jordan Patterson continues to hit the ball very well, doubling twice, one of which was only a foot or two too close to the ground to go over the right-center field fence. He also displayed a cannon arm throwing out a runner at home (Briceno hung in nicely getting blown up at the plate) and making an even more impressive throw from foul territory in deep right field -- a one hopper to third base that only missed the runner because it was about a foot offline. When he fielded the ball it looked like he had no chance to make it close.
David Martinez allowed two runs (one earned) in four innings of work, walking one and striking out three. He took the loss, but the game didn't get out of hand until Jesus Torres gave up five runs, though only three were earned, in two-thirds of an inning.
Henry Garcia had a pair of singles to pace the Rockies' offense. All other starters had one hit with the exception of Hamlet Marte and Luis Brito Jr.