Updated: April 7, 2013 at 12:00 am
It’d be easy to chalk this high-scoring affair up to Security Service Field’s old tricks.
That doesn’t hold up, however, since the runs were only on one side.
Reno’s Tyler Skaggs, the top prospect in Arizona’s system, shut down the Sky Sox for six innings as his teammates broke out in a 14-1 victory Sunday.
The teams split the season-opening four-game series.
Skaggs went six innings, giving up four hits, walking two and striking out four. He needed just 82 pitches, throwing 50 for strikes.
When Skaggs left the game his team led 10-0.
“I felt good,” said the 21-year-old, 6-foot-4 lefty. “Still some mechanical issues I want to correct, but I still feel like I threw the ball very well.”
The only tense moment of the game for Skaggs came in the fifth inning when the Aces’ lead was 4-0. Ben Paulsen and Tommy Manzella singled, but Skaggs struck out reliever Josh Outman and froze leadoff hitter Tim Wheeler on a breaking ball for a called third strike.
Skaggs didn’t face more than four batters in any other inning.
“The ball gets on you a bit,” Sky Sox catcher Matt McBride said. “It’s not 93, 94, 95, but it looks a little harder than it is and he’s not scared of you. He goes right after you. He got us today, but I’m sure we’ll face him again and next time we’ll go get him.”
After scoring just four runs over 24 innings – including Saturday’s 3-2 loss in 15 innings – Reno clogged the basepaths throughout the game. Impressive double plays started by Sky Sox second baseman Charlie Culberson helped starter Nick Schmidt dance around trouble in the first and third innings, but he wasn’t so fortunate in the fourth when three consecutive doubles drove him out of the game as the Aces scored four times.
A three-run home run from Tyler Bortnik highlighted a six-run Reno seventh inning, part of an 18-hit attack.
The lone Sky Sox player to give Skaggs fits was Manzella, whose presence in the lineup was something of a surprise the day after he left the game after taking a fouled bunt attempt off the face.
“It was just a bump on his forehead,” Sky Sox manager Glenallen Hill said. “He went through extensive examination last night and again this morning. The doctor gave him the OK, so he was good to go.”
Manzella went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles off Skaggs and drew a walk.
Security Service Field, with its high elevation, is notorious for high-scoring contests. But as Colorado Springs lefthander Drew Pomeranz (2.18 ERA in 41 1/3 innings in the ballpark) showed on Saturday, top-line pitchers can have regular success here.
Skaggs, the 40th pick in the 2009 draft, jumped from Double-A to Triple-A last season, posting a 2.91 ERA in nine Pacific Coast League starts before being called up by the Diamondbacks, where he was knocked around a bit (1-3, 5.83 ERA in 29 innings).
It likely won’t be long before he’s back on that stage.
“They said get your confidence back,” he said. “Get some innings, get your confidence, get in that groove like I was last year in Triple-A, just go out there and compete.”
Longtime Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook will make his first Sky Sox start since 2011 and his first non-rehab assignment appearance 2004 when he takes the mound in Monday’s series opener against Tucson.
“Wait till you see Aaron Cook pitch,” Colorado Springs manager Glenallen Hill said. “The ball is coming out of his hand very nice.”