GJ Rockies fall to Ogden in season opener
OGDEN, Utah — Miguel De Leon will go down in Grand Junction Rockies history as the guy who hit the first home run in franchise history.
Jason Stolz had the first hit, a scorching line drive into the left-field corner for a double.
“That’s pretty cool, huh? I didn’t think about that until after the game,” said Stolz, who started at third base. “That’s something I can walk away with, I guess.”
Carl Thomore scored the first run — and got the surprise of his young career earlier in the day when his parents knocked on his hotel door. They flew in from New Jersey to watch his first series.
“I heard a knock on my door and opened it, and it was them,” he said. “It was awesome to see them, I hadn’t seen them in awhile.”
They saw him score the first run for the Rockies, who also had another first — the first loss in franchise history, 13-7 to Ogden on Monday in the Pioneer League season opener.
“It is definitely good to get it out of the way,” manager Tony Diaz said. “The guys battled. We had a little bit of a rough time on the mound and defensively (four errors), but we showed some resiliency offensively, and I’m proud of that effort. We’ll go from there.”
Josh Mueller took the loss, lasting 4 1/3 innings and allowing seven runs on nine hits. He walked only two, struck out three, but couldn’t take advantage of the Rockies’ first — and only — lead of the game, 6-5 after De Leon doubled home Drew Beuerlein.
Mueller, on a rehab assignment because of a shoulder impingement, gave up two of Ogden’s six runs in the bottom of the fifth, walking Justin Boudreaux to lead off the inning.
An infield single and a double steal, two of six steals on the night for the Raptors, and a fly ball ended Mueller’s night. He was on an 80-pitch count and had reached 75.
Kyle Roliard, who was stellar in the Rockies’ exhibition game last week, couldn’t find his control, walking Tae-Hyeok Nam on four pitches, the fourth getting past Beuerlein to score Boudreaux to tie the game at 6-6.
He got a ground ball to first, but Ben Waldrip’s throw to the plate was late, scoring the go-ahead run, and on the slide into the plate, Beuerlein was taken out and couldn’t catch the throw, allowing another run to score.
An RBI triple by Jose Capellan, an infield single and a sacrifice fly made it 11-6, and the Rockies didn’t have enough comeback in them.
“We had a little bit of a run-on inning, but that’s part of baseball, nothing you can do about it,” Thomore said. Tony tells us you play against the game. Sometimes the game is good to you, sometimes it’s not.”
A home run by Nam in the sixth made it 12-6, but the Rockies got one run back in the eighth when Stolz doubled home Cesar Galvez, who beat out an infield single.
Ogden picked up another run in the eighth off Brian Rike, the fourth Grand Junction pitcher to work.
Grand Junction (0-1) had a dozen hits, but those four errors led to five unearned runs.
Tonight, the Rockies send Alving Mejias to the mound, and the short-handed pitching staff likely will have only two pitchers available out of the bullpen, Diaz said. Many of the pitchers don’t have enough work in to be ready to pitch yet.
As in the exhibition game, Diaz liked how his club kept fighting offensively; the Rockies just need to pitch ahead and clean up the defense.
“It’s really a good sign of a club that doesn’t quit,” Diaz said. “They came back (from Odgen’s four-run third) and ended up taking the lead.
“But this game boils down to pitching and defense, and we lacked those two things today.”