Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Red-hot Memphis hitter provides decisive blow against Sky Sox

By Brent Briggeman Updated: May 21, 2014 at 10:25 pm

The Sky Sox played against a stacked deck - a pitcher scratched from his start, four errors from the defense - and nearly overcame it.

The one factor that finally did them in was Randal Grichuk.

The red-hot Memphis center fielder crushed a two-run home run high off the batter's eye in center to give the Redbirds separation after Colorado Springs had pulled within a run, and the game was never in question again as the Sky Sox fell 7-4 on Wednesday night.

The home run was the sixth for Grichuk since May 11.

"I've never had anything quite like this," said Grichuk, the No. 10 prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization according to Baseball America. "You've got to ride it while you can. Baseball is very up and down."

The Sky Sox gave Dan Houston his first Triple-A start after Pedro Hernandez was a late scratch because of an injury and quickly found themselves down 3-0 after three innings.

Run-scoring singles from Drew Garcia and Evan Frey closed the gap in the fourth. Colorado Springs then put the potential tying run on third in the fifth with one out but couldn't get him home.

Grichuk crushed his home run in the next inning with a man on first.

"It gave us a little separation, some room to breathe, and we added a couple more in the next inning," he said.

The Sky Sox effort was solid, given the circumstances. Houston went three innings, giving up just three runs despite dealing with eight baserunners. Greg Burke threw two shutout innings, Rob Scahill threw a pair of innings and Chris Martin and Brooks Brown each took a frame.

It was Martin's first appearance since being optioned down by the Colorado Rockies, and he struck out a pair in a scoreless inning.

Michael McKenry and Ben Paulsen each hit solo home runs for the Sky Sox.

Grichuk added a double to his home run, going 2 for 4 with two runs, two RBIs and a walk.

Remarkably, despite his run, Grichuk isn't the hottest hitter in the Memphis lineup.

Oscar Taveras went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run and is 8 for his last 11 in the series, which Memphis leads 2-1.

The Redbirds managed just five hits in being shut out in the first game of the series and have rebounded with 13 runs on 28 hits in the past two.

"That's how baseball is," Grichuk said. "You score 15 one game and score none the next."

Notes

Brothers Greg and Drew Garcia each started at second base in the game. Drew went 2 for 4 with an RBI for Colorado Springs and Greg went 1 for 6 with an RBI for Memphis. Their grandfather, Dave Garcia, won 307 games as a manager with California (1977-78) and Cleveland (1979-82). . Kurt Heyer started and made his Triple-A debut for Memphis, giving up a pair of runs in 32/3 innings.

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