Published: July 11, 2013
There would be no ninth walk-off home win for the Sky Sox on Thursday.
"The guys did a good job getting a couple hits to start (the ninth) but we couldn't get it done tonight," Colorado Springs shortstop Charlie Culberson said after a 4-2 loss to Salt Lake before 8,173 at Security Service Field.
The Sky Sox mounted a short-lived rally in the ninth when Hernan Iribarren ripped a line drive into the gap, past diving right fielder Kole Calhoun for an RBI triple. That scored Tim Wheeler, who hit a leadoff single, and made it 4-2 with no outs.
But closer Daniel Stange responded with three straight strikeouts on 10 pitches to secure the PCL Northern Division victory.
Salt Lake pulled ahead 2-1 in the sixth on a two-out single by Efren Navarro that was cashed in by an RBI double by Luis Rodriguez into the right field corner. A walk to Matt Long then set up a two-run double by Roberto Lopez for a 4-1 lead.
The Sky Sox (50-43) flirted with blowing the PCL game open in the fourth when they loaded the bases on two walks (Wheeler, Jose Gonzalez) and a bloop single by Iribarren with two outs on the scoreboard. But Culberson sent a soft grounder to the mound to end the inning.
That wasted opportunity proved costly with Salt Lake starter Dustin Richardson (3-0) cruising. He left the game when he hit the 100-pitch mark during the sixth, and the three relievers and Bees defense made the lead stand.
Bees shortstop Andrew Romine made a diving catch to his right and fired to second base to catch Gonzalez flat-footed for a double play to end the seventh and keep Salt Lake ahead.
"Their pitchers were good but we did hit some balls hard, but they made big plays," Culberson said. "That is how it works sometimes in baseball."
Colorado Springs went ahead 1-0 in the second when a leadoff walk to Ben Paulsen and singles by Greg Golson and Wheeler (bunt) loaded the bases. Iribarren hit into a double play, but Paulsen scored.
Salt Lake (52-43) tied it up after catcher Luke Carlin singled, which extended his hit streak to nine games, and stole second to get into scoring position. A groundout later, former Sky Sox infielder Tommy Field hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score him from third.
"It was a good ballgame; they just got that one big inning," Culberson said.
The Rockies made room for outfielder Dexter Fowler and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki by sending outfielders Tyler Colvin and Corey Dickerson down to the Sky Sox. . Righty Rob Scahill was moved back to the temporary inactive list. . Wednesday's winner, right-hander Jeff Manship, is playing well after his return from the disabled list on July 15. He has a 2.63 ERA in three games (two starts) after recording a 6.33 ERA before July 1.