Errors costly for GJ Rox in loss to Osprey

Funny how one misplayed ball turns into an onslaught of miscues.

It happened Thursday night to the Grand Junction Rockies in an 11-5 loss to Missoula at Suplizio Field.

The first ball hit was a routine fly ball to left, but it popped out of Randy Reyes’ glove. It was the first of six errors for the Rockies (13-11), whose season-long three-game winning streak came to an end.

Only four of the Osprey’s runs were earned as balls kept caroming off gloves, players overran base hits in the outfield, giving Missoula extra bases, and errant throws sent runs across the plate.

“Those six errors hurt us in a lot of ways, and we never really recovered,” Grand Junction manager Anthony Sanders said. “Night and day compared to where we were the last couple of nights. Their pitcher (Carlos Hernandez) threw strikes and pitched to contact, and we never capitalized on him early.”

Sam Howard took the loss, allowing five runs on four hits in three innings.

Grand Junction had chances to get right back in the game early, but the Rockies stranded Yonathan Daza at second base in the second inning after he banged a double off the wall in right field. In the first, Dom Nunez singled, but he was thrown out trying to steal second.

An interference call cost the Rockies a base runner in the third when Denzel Richardson’s momentum on a swing caused him to cross in front of Missoula catcher Yosbel Gutierrez, not allowing him to throw to second base when Luis Jean tried to steal. Jean was called out, and Richardson struck out on the play.

After Missoula broke the game open with a five-run fourth inning, including Kevin Cron’s second home run of the game, a three-run shot to right, the Rockies got three runs back, thanks to a special gift.

Daza hit a three-run home run to left, and he had Jairo Rosario to thank. Rosario, who caught for Grand Junction last season, sent Daza a bat — a Jairo Rosario signature bat — and Daza used it Thursday.

The Grand Junction right fielder went 3 for 4 with two doubles and the home run, his first of the season, scored two runs and drove in three.

Lucky bat?

“Absolutely yes,” Daza said through teammate Hamlet Marte. “He hit every pitch today, fastball, change-up and curveball. The successful thing was the pitcher was keeping the pitches high, and he could see the ball and see what he could hit.”

Nunez hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot to right in the eighth inning and finished 2 for 4, and Matt McBride went 2 for 3 and was on base all four times he went to the plate.

McBride, on a rehab assignment from Colorado Springs because of a broken bone in his right foot, is expected to be with the GJ Rockies through the end of the homestand.

“That’s the plan, but until they tell me otherwise, I’m here,” he said.

McBride broke the second metatarsal bone in his right foot, just behind the toe. He was hit by a pitch, and the SkySox medical staff thought it was a bone bruise.

A few days later, McBride hit a home run, and between second and third base felt the pain in his foot, he said. Doctors said being hit by the pitch caused a stress fracture, and continuing to play caused the bone to break.

“I wish I’d have gotten out of the way,” McBride said with a laugh.

He’s played first base and left field in Grand Junction and is listed as a catcher. Thursday was the first time in four games that he played all nine innings as he goes through the rehab process.

“I like to get work in the outfield, at first, catch,” said McBride, who was part of the Colorado Rockies’ 2011 trade with Cleveland for Ubaldo Jimenez. “I try, with all those positions, to divvy my time up at each one. I feel like when I come to the park every day there’s something I need to be working on.”

Short hops

Troy Stein had surgery Thursday to repair ligament damage to his left thumb, which he injured a couple of weeks ago sliding into a base. The Rockies’ catcher could return to Grand Junction, but he is likely out the rest of the season, Sanders said. Stein, a 10th-round draft pick out of Texas A&M, was hitting .350 in five games before being injured. Sanders hopes the club can get a third catcher soon, but added, “We’ve got two real good ones now.”

...  Andrew Brown, a right-handed pitcher out of Akron, has been assigned to GJ from Asheville. Sanders said he had not been informed about Brown or any new additions, but “when they get here I’ll get them a uniform.” Brown was not on Asheville’s roster Thursday. ...  Thursday was Sanders’ birthday. ... Tonight’s game begins at 6:30 instead of the usual 7:05 first pitch because of the fireworks after the game.


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