A gem wasted
Lomangino's solid pitching effort goes for naught as GJ Rockies fall to Ogden
Grand Junction starting pitcher James Lomangino was a tough-luck loser Thursday night, spreading three hits over 6 1/3 innings and giving up one run on a sacrifice fly during the Rockies’ 2-1 loss to Ogden in Pioneer League baseball at Suplizio Field.
The loss was Grand Junction’s fifth in their past six matchups with Ogden as the Rockies (40-29, 17-14 second half) have slipped from the top of the South Division’s second-half standings and now trail the Raptors (33-35, 18-12) by 1½ games in the South Division.
Ogden has played one fewer game than Grand Junction because of a rainout against Orem on Aug. 22. No makeup date has been set.
The Rockies and Raptors are in the midst of playing eight straight games against each other, and the final two will be at Ogden, beginning with tonight’s game at 7:05.
After a red-hot July in which the Rockies were 18-10, they’re 14-12 in the month of August.
Grand Junction manager Anthony Sanders said a big part of Grand Junction’s woes come from facing quality pitchers, adding the Rockies will need to generate more offense during their road trip to Utah.
“It’s seems like we’re coming up short every night by one or two runs,” Sanders said. “We have to take advantage of the opportunities we get, whether early or late in the game, and cut down on mistakes.”
Lomangino did his part to keep it close Thursday. The broad-shouldered right-hander wasn’t particularly overpowering, striking out only five batters, but he pitched to contact well.
“Our guy was unbelievable tonight,” Sanders said. “He kept us in the game tonight and gave us a chance to win.”
It was Lomangino’s best prolonged outing of the season and the first time he’s allowed fewer than two runs in a start lasting longer than 2 2/3 innings.
Colorado’s 18th-round pick in this year’s Major League Baseball draft said his fastball placement has improved as the season has gone on, and Dom Nunez’s knowledge behind the plate allowed Lomangino to “get away with some off-speed pitches.”
“I’m not trying to overthrow anything and just going at people,” Lomangino said. “I know if I’m able to execute some pitches, I’ll be all right out there.”
Lomangino didn’t allow a run until the top of the seventh inning. For Ogden, Billy Bereszniewicz led off with a double and advanced to third on a fly ball out. Lomangino saved a run from scoring on the play when the throw from the outfield took a nasty hop and sailed over Kevin Padlo. Lomangino, still running to back up the throw, dove onto the rubber walkway surrounding the dugout to keep the ball in play.
After the defensive gem, Lomangino was relieved by Gavin Glanz, and Bereszniewicz scored on Julian Leon’s sacrifice fly during the first pitch of his at-bat.
The Raptors added another run in the top of the eighth when Colin Herring scored on a throwing error by Grand Junction first baseman Roberto Ramos.
Yonathon Daza scored the Rockies’ run in the bottom of the eighth. He led off the inning with a single, immediately stole second base and advanced to third on a deep fly ball before scoring on a single by Luis Castro.
Daza saved a run on defense in the top of the ninth inning, doubling off a runner at third base with a back-foot throw from the warning track in left field.
Daza was 2 for 5 with a run, and Castro finished 3 for 4 with an RBI. The Rockies had no extra-base hits.
Hamlet Marte was struck by a pitch in the left forearm Wednesday during the bottom of the ninth of Grand Junction’s 5-4 loss to Ogden. Marte exited the game during his at-bat, and Nate Causey worked a walk in his place.
Marte had X-rays taken of his arm that night, and Sanders said the results came back negative. Lingering bruising and some minor nerve damage have Marte listed as day-to-day.
Henry Garcia is day-to-day with a shoulder injury.