Nine-run seventh inning lifts GJ Rockies past Idaho Falls
Grand Junction erupted for nine runs in the seventh inning as the Rockies broke a 2-2 tie and opened a four-game road series at Idaho Falls with a 12-2 victory Thursday night.
Grand Junction (10-5) tied the game 1-1 in the top of the third when Dom Nunez hit a one-out double, and Raimel Tapia followed with a single to score him.
The Rockies pulled into a 2-2 tie in the sixth when Tapia, who opened the inning by reaching on an error, eventually scored from third base on a groundout by Jose Briceno.
Then came the seventh inning and the definitive end for the Chukars, who were held scoreless for the final five innings.
Singles by Correlle Prime and Jordan Patterson and a walk by Ryan Garvey loaded the bases and led to a pitching change. New pitcher Josiel Martinez hit the first batter he faced, Jairo Rosario, and walk Nunez to force home two runs. Tapia hit a two-run single, and one out later Briceno drew an intentional walk to reload the bases. Ryan McMahon followed with a two-run single.
Several batters later, Garvey greeted new pitcher Corey Rhoney with a single up the middle, which scored two runs, and a third runner scored on the play because of a throwing error by the center fielder.
The outburst made a winner of starting pitcher Peter Tago, who threw 6 2/3 innings, scattering six hits and five walks. He limited the Chukars to two runs thanks to defensive help, such as a double play in the third, Rosario throwing out a runner attempting to steal second in the fourth, and Tapia throwing a runner out at third in the fourth.
Tago struck out two batters and evened his record at 1-1.
Tapia and Patterson led the Rockies’ 10-hit attack, each collecting three hits. Tapia drove in three runs, and Patterson drew a walk to reach base in all four of his plate appearances, scoring three times. Patterson also hit a solo home run to right-center in the ninth to cap the scoring.
Grand Junction drew seven walks, with Garvey getting two of them. The Rockies also took advantage of seven errors by Idaho Falls.
The Rockies’ Jacob Newberry and William Waltrip combined to shut out the Chukars in 2 1/3 innings of relief, allowing one hit and two walks.
Idaho Falls (4-11) got two hits from cleanup hitter Zane Evans, and all of the Chukars’ hits were singles.