A satisfying split
Butler's performance leads GJ Rox to win in 2nd game of DH
Eddie Butler made sure the long ride home was a good one.
The Colorado Rockies first-round compensation pick (46th overall) pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings Tuesday to lead the Grand Junction Rockies to a 6-0 victory over the Billings Mustangs in the second game of a Pioneer League doubleheader at Dehler Park in Billings, Mont. It was the Rockies’ first shutout victory of the season.
Billings (16-13) took advantage of six errors to defeat Grand Junction 15-2 in the first game. The teams were rained out Monday night.
“It ends the trip on a good note,” Grand Junction manager Tony Diaz said. “That shows you the contrast in an hour. That’s baseball. I’m proud of the way we responded.”
Grand Junction (14-15) returns home to start a seven-game home stand beginning with the Missoula Osprey at 7 p.m. Thursday at Suplizio Field.
Butler (2-1) gave up five hits and struck out seven in his 5 1/3 innings for the victory.
“I was focused on throwing strikes and getting ahead of the hitters,” Butler said. “The free passes were killing us.”
He struck out the side in the fifth.
“He was phenomenal,” Diaz said of Butler. “He did everything a good pitcher can do. He worked fast. He was fantastic.”
When Butler wasn’t striking out Mustangs hitters, he was inducing ground-ball outs, including two double plays, with his sinker.
“It was down in the zone and had good movement,” Butler said. “Franmy (Pena) did a good job holding it (in the zone).”
Raul Fernandez and Jesse Meaux finished the job, limiting Billings to one hit in 1 2/3 innings of relief.
Julian Yan led the Rockies offense. He was 2 for 4 with three RBI. David Dahl, Ashley Graeter, Jeff Popick and Jason Stolz each had two hits.
Yan doubled home a run and scored in the second for a 2-0 lead. He scored on a single by Stolz.
“The run support is always great,” Butler said. “It allows you to go right at the batters. If they come up with a run, so be it.”
Popick drove home a run with a two-out hit in the third.
In the fifth, the Rockies came through with another two-out, run-scoring hit.
With Dahl and Graeter on, Yan doubled through to the left side to chase Billings starter Sal Romano.
“That was a big two-run double with two outs,” Diaz said. “That was a good game for him.”
Romano allowed six runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Five Grand Junction errors led to five unearned runs for Billings in the Mustangs’ victory in the first game of the doubleheader.
“We played poorly,” Diaz said. “I’m proud of the way we rebounded.”
Johendi Jiminian (0-1) allowed nine runs and eight hits in four innings, but his defense didn’t help out much. The Rockies made six errors, leading to six unearned runs.
Two Grand Junction errors led to two runs in the first inning.
With one on, Seth Mejias-Brean reached on an error. The next batter, Robert Maddox, reached on an error, allowing one run to score. Jeff Gelalich followed with a run-scoring single.
Grand Junction had four errors in the fourth inning, leading to four Mustangs runs, pushing their lead to 9-2.
That was enough for Billings starter Ismael Guillon (2-1). He limited the Rockies to two runs on two hits and struck out seven in five innings.
The Rockies had two at-bats with runners in scoring position and had four hits in the game.
Jose Briceno hit his second home run of the season, a two-run shot in the top of the second inning to tie the game 2-2. Briceno was 2 for 3. Dahl had the other two Rockies hits. He was 2 for 3.