GJ Rockies’ bats remain cool in third straight loss
Billings preferred to score its runs in pairs Tuesday night as the Mustangs defeated the Grand Junction Rockies 6-2 in a Pioneer League baseball game in Billings, Montana.
The Mustangs (24-24) roughed up Grand Junction starting pitcher Carlos Polanco, chasing him after 4 1/3 innings and saddling him with five of the six runs, all of them earned. Polanco took the loss, dropping his record to 5-4.
Billings improved to 7-3 in the second half of the season and sits atop the North Division standings.
The loss was the third in a row for the Rockies, who are 27-20 overall and 4-5 in the second half.
The Mustangs got to Polanco for two runs in the first inning, but Grand Junction cut the deficit in half on Kevin Padlo’s fourth home run of the season, a solo shot in the second.
Billings added two more runs in the fourth, and the Rockies answered again with a solo home run, this time by Dom Nunez, who homered for the sixth time this season.
That was the last time Grand Junction scored, though, as three Billings relievers blanked the Rockies the rest of the way, facing the minimum 12 batters. Jacob Moody, Mike Saunders and Brian Hunter held Grand Junction hitless, and the one walk issued by Moody in the sixth inning was erased by a double play.
Mustangs starter Luke Moran worked the first five innings and surrendered two runs on seven hits and no walks to earn the win.
Padlo was the only Rockies hitters with more than one hit as he finished 2 for 4.
The bright spot for Grand Junction was the effectiveness of its final three relievers. Alec Kenilvort, Gavin Glanz and Taylor Black each pitched a scoreless, hitless frame. None of them allowed a walk, and each recorded a strikeout.
Relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt left Monday night’s game against Billings with groin tightness, according to the team. He’s listed as day-to-day.
The Colorado Rockies’ closer is on a rehab assignment. He had Tommy John surgery last season.