Grand Junction Proves Winning as Easy as 1-2-3; Rockies Win 6-2
It isn’t often that you think of baseball as an easy game to play, but Grand Junction Rockies seem to have found a formula, at least on this night, downing the Helena Brewers 6-2. The team scored one in the first, two in the sixth, and three in the eighth to secure the victory, winning the final three-games of the four-game set.
Nelson Hernandez got the start for the Brewers, and the Rockies would take the lead in the bottom of the first against him. Shael Mendoza led off with a single and moved to third when Pedro Gonzalez lined a double into left field. Chad Spanberger then delivered a sacrifice fly to bring home Mendoza to make it 1-0.
The Brewers took the lead with single runs in the second and third. In the second, KJ Harrison led off the inning with a base hit, extending his hitting streak to six games. Payton Henry followed with a single and Harrison scored on a sacrifice fly by Chad McClanahan to tie the score.
In the third, Jose Gomez led off with a base hit, but was replaced on the base paths on a fielder’s choice by Antonio Pinero. A ground out moved Pinero to second and he came around to score when Kenny Corey singled into left field to make it 2-1.
After giving up the first inning run, Hernandez was absolutely brilliant over the next four-innings. He retired nine in a row at one point, and only gave up one-hit during that period. However, in the sixth, the Rockies mounted a rally to retake the lead. Tyler Bates started the inning with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Gonzalez followed with a double that brought home Bates to tie the score. After Spanberger walked, Gonzalez stole third to put runners at the corners with one down. Casey Golden then singled to score Gonzalez and put Grand Junction on top, 3-2.
In the eighth, they added three more runs to put this game away. Spanberger led off the inning with his eighth homer of the year, a lined shot over the right field wall. Two batters later, Javier Guevara doubled and he scored on a single to center by Joey Batosic to make it 5-2. Bartosic scored on a Kennard McDowell single to make it 6-2 and that would be the final.
Jeffri Ocando (5-0) remained undefeated, allowing 4-hits and 2-runs in 6-innings of work. Chad Spanberger had a perfect night at the plate, going 2-2 with a run, 2-RBI, and a walk. Pedro Gonzalez had 2-doubles and an RBI.
The Helena Brewers now move onto face the Orem Owlz Monday night. Michael Petersen (0-2, 8.63) will start for the Brewers. He will be opposed by Simon Mathews (1-0, 4.05). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier