Colorado Springs blurred the line between the minor and major leagues with its stacked lineup Thursday.
Troy Tulowitzki, Eric Young Jr., Jay Payton and Travis Metcalf started. Chris Nelson homered. Kaz Matsui came off the bench. The relievers included Matt Daley and Juan Rincon. Each player has logged big league time.
If the Sky Sox looked ready for the NL West, what does that say about surging Sacramento?
The River Cats slammed three home runs in topping Colorado Springs 14-9, completing a four-game sweep in which they outscored their hosts 49-20. Sacramento, winner of four Pacific Coast League titles since 2003, has won 30 of 40.
“They are a good hitting ball club,” Sky Sox manager Stu Cole said. “We just gave up too many big innings. We just couldn’t stay away from it.”
The large, festive crowds — 14,308 combined on Wednesday and Thursday, roughly doubling what comparable games had drawn this summer — that came out for a glimpse of Tulowitzki and other Rockies on rehab assignments may have thought they would see a fun exhibition.
It just turned out that their team was the Washington Generals, while Sacramento played the role of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Tulowitzki completed a fairly quiet pair of games with the Sky Sox by going 0-for-2 with a walk and a run. He was 1-for-4 and played flawless at shortstop in his brief stint.
“He looked like he didn’t skip a beat from his injury,” Cole said. “He took good BP while he was here. His approach was very sound. He’s a guy who knows what he wants to do. It’s not going to take him very long to get back to where he wants to be.”
The All-Star will play out his rehab assignment with Double-A Tulsa, eyeing a return to the Rockies next week from a broken wrist.
“Things happen for a reason,” Tulowitzki said before the game — he left the stadium before the end of the game. “In the long-run I honestly believe this will make me a better player.”
Nelson and Matt Miller homered late for the Sky Sox, as they scored all nine runs after the fifth inning to make the margin respectable.
The other rehabbing Rockies had rough days. Young went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, and Daley gave up two runs and a walk in his lone inning.