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Gazette Premium Content Big inning again haunts Friedrich as Sky Sox fall to Salt Lake

photo - Sky Sox pitcher Christian Friedrich, shown here in a 2013 file photo, threw five shutout innings before getting shelled in the sixth. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette + caption
Sky Sox pitcher Christian Friedrich, shown here in a 2013 file photo, threw five shutout innings before getting shelled in the sixth. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
By Brent Briggeman Updated: June 13, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Another Christian Friedrich start played out more like a game of minesweeper, where his missteps turn into game-changing disasters.

Friedrich cruised through five shutout innings, dominating Salt Lake as his team built a six-run lead.

Everything came unraveled in the Bees' seven-run sixth inning, as the Sky Sox eventually fell 8-6 on Friday night.

The big inning started with a one-out walk, followed by a pair of well-placed pop-ups that fell between infielders and outfielders.

Then the wheels came off for Friedrich. Efren Navarro pounded a grand slam - the Sky Sox-record third grand slam allowed by Friedrich this season. Four more hits, including three straight doubles finally prompted manager Glenallen Hill to pull Friedrich.

This has been the pattern. In 13 starts, Friedrich has given up at least three runs in nine innings - including four innings with five runs. Those nine innings have accounted for 42 of the 62 runs he has surrendered.

He's been one of the best pitchers in the Pacific Coast League in his other 581/3 innings, but because of those big innings the former first-round pick is saddled with a 1-8 record and a 7.89 ERA.

The Friday the 13th game started with such promise for the Sky Sox, who have now lost four in a row.

This was Friedrich's 13th start and he needed just 13 pitches to breeze through the first inning. He was also, by the way, the 13th pitcher drafted in the first round by the Rockies and he's one of 13 pitchers taken in the draft all-time from Eastern Kentucky.

The only bad omen came when Jason Pridie - the only starter named Jason - left in the first inning after apparently rolling his ankle on first base while trying to beat a ground ball to second. The PCL's stolen base leader went to the clubhouse and was replaced by Angelys Nina.

The Sky Sox jumped ahead with a run in the first and scored five times in the fifth, as Kyle Parker doubled in a run and Ben Paulsen mashed his 12th home run off the video board in left field.

It was all downhill from there, as the seven-spot in the sixth was later padded with a run in the eighth off of Chad Bettis, the first run the reliever had allowed over 101/3 innings since May 16.

Fittingly, Salt Lake finished with 13 hits.

Note

The Sky Sox announced two additions to the lineup to play in the Heroes Classic charity softball game on June 21. Lee Smith, who retired as baseball's all-time saves leader, and Darrell Evans, a two-time All-Star who hit 414 home runs, will join the event headlined by Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson.

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