Published: July 12, 2013
Salt Lake bunched its hits at just the right time. The Sky Sox didn't.
The Bees, lifeless through seven innings, scored three runs in each the eighth and ninth innings to topple Colorado Springs 7-5 on Friday night.
The victory - in front of 5,262 who showed up for a postgame fireworks show - was the second in a row for Salt Lake to start a four-game series. It also increased the Bees lead to two games over the Sky Sox for second place in the PCL's Pacific North Division.
But it was oh so close to going the other way.
Even after the Sky Sox coughed up a 4-1 lead after holding Salt Lake to just three hits through seven innings, the home team would have had a chance to take a tied ballgame into their last at bat had Kole Calhoun's go-ahead single been hit a tick softer or a foot to the right.
Instead, the ground ball with runners at first and second was just beyond the reach of lunging Colorado Springs shortstop Reid Brignac, who had the potential inning-ending double play ball careen off his glove as he lunged to his right.
Two batters later, Luis Rodriguez padded the lead with a two-run single.
The Sky Sox still put together a final rally, scoring once in the ninth, but it fell short when Greg Golson struck out with the tying runner on first base.
It was fitting that the Sky Sox saw a potential game-winning (or at least game-prolonging) rally fall short with runners on base, as they struggled to find the timely hit on a night when they pounded out 15 base knocks.
Corey Dickerson homered and went 2-for-5 in his first game since being optioned back down by the Rockies on Thursday.
Charlie Culberson, Brignac, Ryan Wheeler, Xavier Nady, Ben Paulsen and Tim Wheeler also had two hits apiece, but Salt Lake pitchers managed to spread them out just enough to prevent the Sky Sox from scoring more than one run in all but the two-run third inning.
The Sky Sox stranded 11 runners and went 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
The Bees late rally spoiled a strong start for Collin McHugh, who gave up three hits and one run in six innings, striking out six and walking two. McHugh was acquired from the New York Mets earlier this season in a trade for Eric Young Jr. This was his second start with the Sky Sox.
Drew Pomeranz was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Juan Nicasio, who was recalled by Colorado. Pomeranz joins Tyler Colvin and Dickerson in returning to Triple-A in a busy week of transactions that also saw Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler return from the disabled list after stints in Colorado Springs.