Bottom of order key for GJ Rox
The bottom of the order was particularly productive for Grand Junction, and the Rockies withstood a late surge by Billings to beat the Mustangs 10-8 on Thursday in Billings, Mont.
No. 6 hitter Correlle Prime and No. 7 hitter Emerson Jimenez each went 3 for 5, and No. 9 hitter Wesley Jones was 2 for 4, providing eight of the Rockies’ 16 hits. The trio combined to drive in seven runs, too, as Jimenez drove in three, and Prime and Jones each plated a pair. Jones made his Grand Junction Rockies debut after signing a free agent contract Thursday.
Grand Junction (16-10) struck early, scoring three times in the first inning as Ryan Garvey, Prime and Jimenez each singled in a run. The Rockies added three more runs in the fourth inning with Jones delivering a two-run single and later scoring on a sacrifice fly by Raimel Tapia. Tapia extended his hit streak to 18 games.
Two runs in the fifth, highlighted by Prime’s run-scoring double, stretched Grand Junction’s lead to 8-1, and Jimenez doubled in a run in the seventh to make it 9-1.
That gave Rockies’ starter Joel Payamps a large cushion, but Billings started chipping away at it in the bottom of the seventh, scoring twice and chasing Payamps with two outs.
Reliever Daniel Palo finished the inning and worked the eighth, allowing two runs, before yielding to Carlos Yan to start the ninth inning. Yan retired the first batter he faced, then gave up a walk, double and a walk to load the bases, and Ty Washington drove in two runs with a single, chasing Yan.
Jacob Newberry put down the rally for his first save of the season after first allowing a single that drove in the Mustangs’ final run. Newberry then recorded a strikeout and got a groundout to close the contest.
Jose Briceno and Ryan McMahon each had two hits for the Rockies, and both doubled as Grand Junction collected five doubles.
Payamps (4-2) earned the win, limiting Billings to three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Gabriel Rosa and Carlos Sanchez had two hits apiece to pace Billings (11-16).
The final game of the three-game series is at 7:05 tonight. The Rockies are 5-1 against the Mustangs going into their final meeting of the regular season.