With the Grand Junction Rockies’ offense, it’s usually just a matter of time.
The time Monday was the fifth inning, using the Rockies’ combination of speed and power for an 11-6 win over the Orem Owlz at Suplizio Field.
The speed came from Max White, Cesar Galvez and David Dahl. The power was courtesy of Julian Yan and Franmy Pena.
“We took advantage offensively of the walks that were issued to us, did some nice things in the middle of the field, and Yan’s grand slam to right-center and Pena’s three-run (home run), those are key at-bats,” Grand Junction manager Tony Diaz said.
“But you look at the walks in those innings; we happened to capitalize on their pitching mistakes.”
White led off the fifth against Orem reliever Garrett Bush with a walk and Galvez flared a single to left. White stole third, and a pitch later, Galvez swiped second.
“Galvez shows you the kind of exciting player he can be,” Diaz said. “He’s not afraid to take the extra base and that’s the kind of player he needs to be. That helped put pressure on the defense. At the end of the day we still have to drive them in and we did.”
Matt Wessinger walked to load the bases for Yan, who sent Bush’s fastball deep to right-center, next to the scoreboard, for a grand slam to break a 3-3 tie.
“We had the bases loaded and I wanted to help my teammates and try to hit the ball on the other side of the field,” Yan said of his second home run of the season. “I was trying to move them to help the team win.”
He couldn’t hide a smile as the ball cleared the wall, and was still smiling after the game.
“This field is good to hit in,” the right fielder said. “The ball jumps a lot.”
Dahl beat out an infield hit to the hole at short and stole second, and Carl Thomore walked before Pena went deep to right.
And the Rockies weren’t done. Juan Ciriaco, the club’s leading hitter, singled up the middle, took third on White’s sky-high double into the left-field corner and scored on a groundout by Galvez for an 11-3 lead.
Orem (1-7) put up three in the seventh against Zach Jemiola, who gave up a leadoff home run to Michael Bolaski to center. He walked Anthony Bemboom, who moved up on a wild pitch and scored on back-to-back singles by Michael Snyder and Caleb Bushyhead.
Snyder came home on a wild pitch by Brian Rike, cutting Grand Junction’s lead to 11-6.
The Rockies’ sixth pitcher of the game, Raul Fernandez, quieted the Owlz in the eighth, getting called third strikes on the first two men he faced, and retired Bolaski on a grounder to third.
Grand Junction executed the situational hitting Diaz preaches to score two runs in the first inning after Galvez beat out a bunt single.
On a hit and run, Wessinger singled in the hole at second and Galvez moved to third, then scored on a wild pitch. Ben Waldrip’s base hit to right scored Wessinger.
Galvez went 3 for 5 with two infield singles, Dahl went 2 for 4 and also beat out two infield hits. Grand Junction scored 11 runs on 12 hits.
“I’m pleased with the fact we’re beating balls out in the infield because we’re going all-out down the line,” Diaz said. “Little things like that sometimes get overlooked, but we got a couple of extra hits because the effort is there.”
Diaz was happy with the win that got the Rockies back to .500 (4-4), but he’d like to see his pitching staff shut things down with a big lead. Grand Junction used seven pitchers, with Shawn Stuart picking up the win with a solid fifth inning, allowing only a leadoff single.
Jesse Meaux closed it down in the ninth, giving up a leadoff double to right, but struck out two and got a fly ball to short.
Johendi Jiminian struggled in his second straight outing, lasting only two innings. He allowed two runs on three hits, struck out two, walked three and hit a batter.
“We don’t mind if we lead the league in hits allowed as a pitching staff (as long as we have) the fewest walks,” Diaz said. “I guarantee you, and I told them, if that’s the case, we’ll have a fun summer. If we lead the league in walks, they don’t have to get many hits to beat us. That’s the message.”