GJ Rockies walk eight times in victory over Chukars
The Grand Junction Rockies were patient at the plate Friday night, drawing eight walks as they took a commanding lead into the final inning.
Sam Howard pitched four shutout innings, and although the bullpen buckled in the late innings, Grand Junction held on to win 7-4 in a messy Pioneer League baseball game at Suplizio Field.
The Rockies (27-17, 4-2 second half) took advantage of four errors by Idaho Falls (21-23, 1-5) to back five strikeouts and no walks by Howard.
“Howard did a great job out there on the mound for us and really set the tone for us,” Grand Junction manager Anthony Sanders said. “After that, it was really just timely hitting and good plate discipline.”
With one out in the bottom of the first inning, Forrest Wall sliced a single to center field. Randy Reyes moved Wall to third with another single, then advanced to second on a fielding error, and Hamlet Marte singled to left-center to score them both.
Wes Rogers singled home a run in the bottom of the second inning, and Reyes scored on a 6-4-3 double play with the bases load in the bottom of the third inning.
With a 4-0 lead, Grand Junction was held scoreless for the next four innings until Kevin Padlo sparked a three-run eighth inning with a solo home run into the left-field bleachers. It was his third home run of the season.
“It was a new pitcher in, and those guys like to start with fastballs,” Padlo said. “I saw one I liked and got around on it.”
Padlo also drew two walks. Marte, Reyes and Luis Jean each had two hits. Marte drove in two runs, and Reyes scored twice.
Jean played second base, his fourth position in three games, and went 2 for 3 with an RBI, and he extended his hitting streak to six games.
Idaho Falls had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the top of the ninth inning.
Grand Junction started the inning with a fielding error, then Chukars leadoff hitter Brandon Downes clubbed an RBI double to left field. Back-to-back singles allowed Idaho Falls some hope, but it was dashed on a groundout to Jean.
Suspensions handed down
The Pioneer League handed out suspensions Friday for the managers involved in a large brawl July 29, the Ogden Standard-Examiner reported.
A benches-clearing fracas, the video of which went viral, during the 10th inning of a game between Idaho Falls and Ogden devolved into Raptors manager Jack McDowell and Chukars manager Omar Ramirez exchanging blows. Both skippers were ejected, and seven players involved in the fight were tossed.
McDowell and Ramirez were suspended three games each, and although no players have been suspended, there’s still the possibility.
McDowell, who was ill Thursday, agreed to serve the ban. The Pioneer League counted his absence Thursday as the first of the three games.
Ramirez, who was in the dugout Friday at Suplizio Field, said the Idaho Falls general manager had not informed him of a suspension.
First baseman Roberto Ramos, who was sent down from Class A Short Season Tri-City, made his debut Friday with Grand Junction.
Ramos was taken by the Colorado Rockies in the 16th round of the 2014 draft out of College of the Canyons in California. He was hitting .220 with the Dust Devils.
Ramos was hitless and drew a walk in three at-bats in his debut.
“I haven’t really gotten to see much of him,” Sanders said. “I did get to see him during batting practice, and hopefully I’ll get to work with him some more.”