TACOMA, Wash - The Colorado Springs Sky Sox (45-38) were held scoreless until the eighth inning and fell to the Tacoma Rainiers (49-36), 4-1 and are three games back of the Rainiers for first place in the Pacific Northern division.
In his second Triple-A start, Rainiers' pitching phenom Taijuan Walker (W, 2-0) shut down the Sky Sox's offense, only allowing two hits in five innings while striking out eight.
Sox' starter Jeff Manship (L, 3-7) held his own with the Mariners' highly touted prospect, throwing three scoreless frames until allowing a run on three straight singles in the fourth. The right-hander allowed another run in the fifth on a single by Carlos Triunfel and a double by Stefen Romero. Manship finished the day with two walks, two strikeouts in 5.1 innings.
Tacoma's bullpen held Colorado Springs' offense in check until the eighth inning when Lars Davis drilled his third home run of the season to cut the lead in half. After Davis' dinger, singles by Charlie Culberson and Charlie Blackmon put runners on first and second with two outs. The next batter Ryan Wheeler, who is batting .366 with runners in scoring position and two outs, lined a single into left field. The hit brought Culberson careening toward home plate, but Romero gunned the infielder down at home for the final out of the inning.
The Rainiers added insurance runs in the bottom of the inning and closer Logan Bawcom got a 1-2-3 inning to earn his 13th save of the year and clinch the 4-1 win.
Tuesday, the Sky Sox will look to even the three-game series up at one when they send Cory Riordan (4-2, 6.33) to the hill against another top Mariners' prospect, Danny Hultzen (4-1, 2.20) at 8 p.m. MT.
Sky Sox Notes: Rob Scahill pitched 1.2 scoreless innings tonight in his first game back since being optioned back down by the Rockies. .Tim Wheeler went 0-2 with a walk to end his hitting streak at 10 games. ... The Sky Sox completed a 4-6-3 double play for their 100th double play of the season. ... In a recent decision, the Sky Sox will be allowed to have fireworks shows Thursday through Saturday this week.