Next: Reno at Colorado Springs, 7:05 p.m. Friday, 1300 AM
Pitcher Greg Smith left after just 32 pitches for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox on Thursday night against Reno.
Smith, who is trying to work his way back to the Rockies, was taken off with an injury suffered after retiring the first batter in the second inning.
After Smith spotted the Aces a three-run lead, the Sky Sox scored eight in the next two innings to win 10-5 before an announced crowd of 3,319 at Security Service Field.
Smith gave up three runs – all earned – and pitched to seven batters before finally getting out of the first. He struggled with his command, walking two and giving up two hits, including a two-run double to Yunesky Sanchez that put the Aces up 3-0 before the Sky Sox (25-28) got to the plate. He came off the field after the first and mentioned he had tightness in his elbow to pitching coach Doug Linton.
Smith returned to the mound in the second, but after getting Sean Coughlin to pop up to short, manager Stu Cole noticed Smith grimace.
“He felt like he really couldn’t get loose,” Cole said. “We don’t want him to go out there and hurt himself if he can’t get loose.”
Smith, who opened the season with the Rockies, was making his second start since being optioned to Colorado Springs on May 27. He earned a spot in the big club’s rotation out of spring training after missing the 2009 season with arm and back injuries.
“I don’t know how much time he’s going to miss,” Cole said. “But you don’t want to try and risk anything when a guy can’t give you 100 percent on the mound.”
The Sky Sox knocked out Reno starter Kris Benson almost as quickly as Smith left. In 1 1/3 innings, the Sky Sox pounded Benson for eight runs. Matt Miller homered for the second consecutive night. Chris Nelson tripled and drove in three runs, putting the Sky Sox up 6-3 with a two-run single in the second.
The Sky Sox bullpen held the Aces to two runs over the last 7 2/3 innings. Damian Moss earned the win, pitching 3 1/3 innings, yielding two runs.
“The guys did a great job,” Cole said. “Moss came in and gave us a couple innings and held them at bay.”