Orem, Utah - It took a while for the Grand Junction Rockies' offense to get going on Saturday night at Brent Brown Ballpark. But when it did, it showed why the Colorado Rockies' future - on the field, at least - appears to be in good hands.
Down to their last strike in the top of the ninth inning, the Rockies tied the game on a solo home run off the bat of Jordan Patterson. An inning later, Ryan Garvey, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the ninth, led off with a single to center field and scored on Dom Nunez's double, a rocket down the right field line that gave the Rockies a one-run lead.
Dylan Stamey, who kept Orem off the board in the ninth, did the same in the tenth to earn the win.
Prior to the Rockies' offensive onslaught, which start in the eighth inning when Robbie Perkins hits a solo home run to pull the Rockies to within a run, Raimel Tapia was the only batter to get a hit. Tapia went 2-for-4 at the plate a night after his 29-game hitting streak ended. His first-inning strikeout was just the 20th time he did so all year, which makes it seem like there's no wondering how he put together such a long streak.
Aside from Tapia, the Rockies were not able to figure out Orem starter Victor Alcantara, who entered the game with a 7.83 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of fewer than 1.00. The 20-year-old Dominican held the Rockies to one hit over six innings, walking three batters and striking out six. He did not allow an earned run.
Alcantara outdueled Joel Payamps, who lasted just 4 2/3 innings but racked up seven strikeouts and did not walk a batter. He allowed three runs on six hits while working in the 89-92 mile-per-hour range with his fastball. Payamps fooled Orem hitters early and often with his offspeed stuff early but did not command the pitches as well in his last couple of innings.
Along with Payamps, Tapia was the most impressive player on the field for Grand Junction on Saturday. He showed good range and instincts in center field and a keen ability to fight off two-strike pitches at the plate, which has contributed to his extremely low strikeout total this year. Tapia also wreaked havoc on the basepaths; he stole third and scored in the fourth inning when Orem catcher Cambric Moye sailed his throw into left field.
Grand Junction improved to 2-2 in the second half of the Pioneer League season and holds an overall record of 23-19.
We'll have more on Tapia in a prospect profile later this week.
There were some flat-out ugly lines from a whole bunch of pitchers who have experienced success in the major leagues:
Armando Galarraga: 4 2/3 innings, eight runs (seven earned), three walks, no strikeouts and two home runs
Jeff Francis: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 4 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K
Hisanori Takahashi: 2/3 IP, 4 H, 5 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 0 K
Mitchell Boggs: 1 IP, 8 H, 7 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K
If you're counting at home, that's 14 unearned runs, thanks to three fielding errors by Josh Rutledge and two more by Francis. And Boggs allowing eight hits in an inning of work is downright legendary. Good for Logan Kensing, who worked a scoreless third of an inning of work.
Tyler Matzek hit a wall again, allowing five runs on five hits and five walks in four innings. He threw just 40 of 74 pitches for strikes and was charged with a balk. The bullpen bailed out Matzek, as Leuris Gomez struck out three in two scoreless innings of work and Juan Gonzalez, Joe Gardner and Cole White sufficiently shut down the opposition in the seventh-through-ninth innings, giving the offense an opportunity to rally.
Tulsa's bats came through as Kyle Parker hit a two-run homer (his 20th big fly of the year) off of Felipe Paulino and Kiel Roling drove in three runs in the eighth and ninth innings to lead the rally.
Chris Jensen struck out eight in six innings of two-run ball, but Modesto's bullpen was unable to hold the lead and eventually lost the game when Nelson Gonzalez allowed two runs to cross the plate in the top of the 13th.
The Nuts mustered up just seven hits in 13 innings on offense. Trevor Story had two of those while Taylor Featherston doubled and drove in three. Ryan Casteel went hitless but drew four walks in six plate appearances.
Francisco Sosa hit a grand slam -- one of Asheville's four homers in the game -- in the seventh inning to put a bown on a rally that saw the Tourists score 12 unanswered runs after falling into a 6-0 hole in the fourth inning.
Tom Murphy, Derek Jones and Jason Stolz also homered for the Tourists. Those three, Sosa, Rosell Herrera, Matt Argyropoulos and Dillon Thomas finished with two hits apiece.
Alving Mejias, Brook Hart and Jacob Newberry combined to pitch four scoreless innings in relief of Ben Hughes, who was tagged for six earned runs in five innings of work.
The Dust Devils collected 16 hits -- four from Wilson Soriano and three apiece from Patrick Valaika, Michael Benjamin, Michael Tauchman and Sean Dwyer -- and emerged victorious in a 12-inning contest. Tri-City scored the winning run in the bottom half of that inning on an infield single by Benjamin.
Ryan Warner went seven innings and allowed just a run on five hits and a walk. He struck out three.
The Rockies accumulated just two hits -- singles off the bats of Omar Carrizales and Joel Diaz -- in the loss. Starting pitcher Ismael Viloria did not allow an earned run in seven innings of work. He gave up three hits and two walks and struck out four.