Sky Sox flirt with no-hitter in win over Salt Lake

NEAL REID Updated: June 19, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: June 19, 2012

The 6,151 fans who filed into Security Service Field for the Sky Sox’s $2 Tuesday got much more than their money’s worth and nearly witnessed history.

A trio of Sky Sox pitchers came within two outs of the team’s fifth no-hitter as Colorado Springs began an eight-game home stand in style with an 8-2 victory over Salt Lake. Drew Pomeranz, Mike Ekstrom and Zach Putnam combined to no-hit the Salt Lake Bees through 8 1/3 innings before a Luis Jimenez bloop single ended both the no-hitter and the shutout.

It would have been the first no-hitter for Colorado Springs since Aug. 18, 2009, when four pitchers combined to no-hit Oklahoma City on the road.

Pomeranz’s performance was even more impressive considering he was not feeling close to 100 percent as he took the mound.

“My arm felt great, but I felt like crap and felt sick out there on the mound,” said Pomeranz, who was acquired by the Rockies’ organization in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade with Cleveland last year. “I was fighting to not throw up the whole time. I just randomly had a stomach ache all day, but I didn’t want to skip a start, so I just went out there and tried to fight through it.

“It would have been cool to (have a no-hitter), but maybe we’ll do it some other time.”

Pomeranz (3-4), who broke a four-game losing streak, was perhaps saved by Mother Nature, as the game-time temperature of 92 degrees quickly fell into the upper 70s during the game.

“I don’t think I could have handled it if it had stayed hot,” said Pomeranz, a Denver resident who stayed in a Colorado Springs hotel Tuesday night because of his physical condition. “I was dying out there.”

Hank Conger followed Jimenez’s single with an RBI single of his own for Salt Lake before Putnam was lifted for Dustin Molleken. Molleken threw two pitches, ending the game by getting Efren Navarro to hit into a double play.

“Obviously, you want to hold something like that because it’s special, but at the end of the day, you want to just help the team win,” said Putnam, who leads the team with 11 saves. “I feel like I gave my best effort tonight and a couple of things didn’t go my way, but we came out with a ‘W.’ That’s really all that matters.”

Pomeranz’s gutty performance impressed Putnam and his teammates.

“It was unbelievable,” Putnam said. “I was joking with some guys down in the bullpen that it was like (Michael Jordan) in the (1997 NBA) Finals, having the flu and feeling terrible, but going out and doing what he did. The guy’s a gamer, and this was just more evidence of that.”

Colorado Springs (34-37) won for the fourth time in five games and improved to 2-3 against the Bees (35-37) in 2012.

Pomeranz (3-4) cruised through the first four innings before pitching his way into a jam in the fifth. Salt Lake loaded the bases with no outs after Pomeranz walked the first two batters and Efren Navarro reached on first baseman Matt McBride’s throwing error.

The 23-year-old, who is 0-2 this season in five starts for the Rockies, settled down and struck out the next batter, Matt Long. He then got Bees catcher Alberto Rosario to hit into an inning-ending double play on a grounder to short to preserve his no-hitter and shutout.

Sky Sox manager Stu Cole was pleased by Pomeranz’s effort and the game his squad put together.

“He showed a lot of heart today by going out there and doing what he did,” Cole said of Pomeranz. “He’s doing everything the organization is working with him on, and you can see the improvement in the guy. You can’t ask for more than what these guys gave tonight, because that’s a high-pressure situation.”

Andrew Brown singled in Tommy Field in the first to give the Sky Sox a 1-0 lead, then scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 Sky Sox advantage. Colorado Springs added two more in the second on RBI singles by Omir Santos and Brown and pushed the lead to 6-0 on a third-inning RBI double by Chad Tracy and another wild pitch by Bees starter Matt Shoemaker (5-7).

 

 WORTH MENTIONING

*The Sky Sox released pitcher Edgar Gonzalez on Tuesday and replaced him on the roster with free agent Jason Bergmann. Gonzalez was 3-3 with a 5.40 earned run average in 46.2 innings this season, and Bergmann, who pitched for the Washington Nationals from 2005-10, most recently pitched for the Camden Riversharks in the Atlantic League.

 

*Andrew Brown was 2-for-5 with two RBIs to run his team-leading total to 53, and Tim Wheeler went 3-for-4 to extend his team-high hitting streak to 16 games.

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