Grand Junction Rockies recap, July 6, 2017
Orem 7, Grand Junction 5
Thursday at Suplizio Field
Grand Junction 5-13, Orem 13-5
On the mound
Anderson Amarista did exactly what the Rockies needed him to, throwing 5 1/3 solid innings and allowing only five hits. He left with a 3-2 lead with one runner on base and was in line for his first win in the United States, but Brandon Lambright couldn’t hold the lead.
Amarista struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter. He gave up a pair of solo home runs, one off the foul pole in left by David Mackinnon in the second and one to No. 9 hitter Yefry Santana in the third. He threw 88 pitches, 60 strikes.
“We talked about that earlier today, if we can get five or six innings and we’re in the ballgame, then he’s done his job,” GJ manager Frank Gonzales said. “For a young guy, the poise, the confidence on the mound, the way he carries himself on the mound, if he gets in a jam, it’s no big deal. He does a nice job.”
The Rockies pitched much better than Wednesday. Lambright elevated some pitches in his one inning of work, but Colton Hathcock came on in a tough spot in the seventh and got the Rockies out of what could have been a disastrous inning with only two runs.
“He was elevated and then you give him the benefit of the doubt after he struck the guy out and you leave him out there and you load the bases,” Gonzales said of Lambright’s seventh inning. “You hate to bring in a reliever with the bases loaded, there’s a lot of pressure, but Hathcock did a nice job doing what he could to get out of that inning.”
Another bright spot was Tommy Doyle, who pitched the ninth inning down one run, 6-5. His first six pitches were strikes, resulting in a one-pitch out and a scary shot off his calf that he chased down. His throw to first was low and Chad Spanberger couldn’t make the catch. That run ended up scoring on back-to-back singles up the middle.
Spanberger was checked by the Rockies’ training staff and after a few warmup pitches, stayed in the game.
“He was around the plate, he’s going to have to be down because he is a strike-thrower, you can see he’s effective when he’s down. A good little slider and a breaking ball he can use as well but he had a nice outing overall,” Gonzales said of the Rockies’ Compensation B pick out of Virginia. “I hope he’s OK. He was getting a little cramped after the game, but hopefully he’ll be fine after a day or two.”
At the plate
The bottom of the order produced half of the Rockies’ eight hits, two each from Brett Stevens and Jeff Moberg. Down 6-3 in the eighth, Moberg singled with one out and took third on a double down the left-field line by Shael Mendoza. Alan Trejo’s hard ground ball to third got Moberg home, and Spanberger drilled a double to the wall in right to score Mendoza, pulling the Rockies within 6-5, but Casey Golden popped out foul.
The key inning
Once Amarista reached 88 pitches, his night was done, leaving with one runner on base in the sixth inning. Jonah Todd of Orem doubled just inside the left-field line, and with two out, Franklin Navarro laced a gap double to give the Owlz a 4-3 lead. Lambright caught a line-drive comebacker to end the inning, but walked the bases full in the seventh. Two of those scored after he was pulled, the first on a catcher’s interference on Hidekel Gonzalez and the other on Todd’s fielder’s choice.
Around the diamond
The Class 2A state championship baseball team from Paonia High School was introduced before Thursday’s game. … Former GJ Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers hit his first home run for the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats on Thursday. Rated the Rockies’ No. 1 prospect, Rodgers was promoted from Class A Lancaster (California) late last month.
Orem at Grand Junction, 6:40 p.m., Suplizio Field
Starting pitchers: Jefri Ocando, GJ (2-0, 3.31 ERA) vs. TBA, Orem
TV: Ch. 16 (KGJT)
They said it
“Hats off to these guys (the Owlz), they swung the bats well again. We’ll try to get them tomorrow.” — Frank Gonzales
— Patti Arnold, The Daily Sentinel