With postgame fireworks canceled due to the Waldo Canyon fire, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox had to provide the explosions on the field Wednesday night.
They did just that, racking up 21 hits in a 19-4 win over the division-leading Reno Aces in front of a packed crowd of 8,721 celebrating the Fourth of July at Security Service Field. Andrew Brown was 5-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs, and Colorado Springs (43-42) jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first two innings.
The victory evened the squad’s season record to 4-4 against the Aces (51-36), who lead the Sky Sox by seven games in the Pacific Coast League’s North Division. The 19 runs also set a new Fourth of July record for Colorado Springs.
“We swung the bats well tonight, especially with runners in scoring position,” Sky Sox manager Stu Cole said. “You want to come in and play well, especially against the team that’s leading the division, but this only counts for one game. Tomorrow, we’ve got to come back out and play well again.”
The Sky Sox roughed up prized Reno pitching prospect Zach Kroenke (5-2) for five runs on six first-inning singles and never looked back. Four more hits, including Hernan Iribarren’s two-out, two-RBI triple, gave the Sky Sox an insurmountable 9-0 advantage.
Colorado Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez began his major league rehab assignment, going 1-for-3 with an RBI single before being replaced by Omir Santos in the sixth. Hernandez, who went on the disabled list in late May with a left hand strain, is batting .215 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 27 games for the Rockies this season.
Brown’s five RBIs ran his season total to 75, second in the PCL behind Reno’s Ryan Wheeler. Third baseman D.J. LeMahieu went 4-for-5 and scored four times, and Iribarren finished 2-for-5 with three runs batted in.
“I’m just out here trying to hit the ball as hard as I possibly can,” said Brown, a 2012 PCL All-Star selection whose second home run of the night hit the American flag over the left-field wall. “It was nice to come home and be able to spend some time with my family before the game, then come and have a good game. That’s what you want, and it was a lot of fun.”
Brown, who has a 3-month-old daughter, will bypass the All-Star Game to spend time with his family and has been replaced on the team by Matt McBride. McBride leads the Sky Sox with a .346 average and is second on the squad with 46 RBIs.
Guillermo Moscoso (5-3), who has appeared in 10 games for the Rockies this season, gave up four runs in five innings to earn the win. McBride also had a big night, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored.