By LUKE O’ROARK | @LukeORoark
Not many quick, close games happen in the Pioneer League.
But a quick, close game is exactly what 2,869 Melaleuca Field attendees got Tuesday night.
The Grand Junction Rockies beat the Chukars 4-2 thanks to a three-run seventh inning and holding the Chukars scoreless in the final five frames.
The only stat most fans need to know after Tuesday: Idaho Falls is 0-5 when trailing after the eighth this season.
And indeed, the Chukars trailed after the Rockies scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take a two-run lead.
Down 4-2, the Chukars attempted to rally after a Jesus Atencio double in the bottom of the ninth got him to third and Andres Martin reached second after being walked.
But on a 2-2 count, with two outs, Alexander Martinez closed the doors on the hometown bird, striking out Offerman Collado.
Originally up 2-1, a throwing error by Collado, a Reese Berberet home run and a Cristopher Navarro RBI single to third was all Grand Junction need to get back into Tuesday’s game and hand the Chukars their fifth loss of the season.
The Chukars scored first Tuesday, as Tyler James reached home after Kyle Isbel grounded into a double play. The Chukars then scored another run in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a Nate Eaton ground out that scored first baseman Reed Rohlman.
Domingo Pena (1-1) took the loss, giving up three runs (one earned) on four hits while walking two and striking out four in 4.2 innings. Eris Filpo took the win, allowing two runs (both earned) on seven hits while walking three and striking out three in six innings.
Player(s) of the game
Offerman Collado. The shortstop was the Chukars’ most consistent at-bat Tuesday night. He went 3 for 5 at the plate. He did, however, have one throwing error and struck out during the last at-bat of the game.
– Jose Caraballo’s hit streak has reached six games. Jesus Atencio’s hitting streak has now reached five games.
– Rockies’ Cristopher Navarro was hit in the hand in the top of the ninth, but the play was called foul tip. Navarro was eventually walked.
– The Chukars’ offense has been sluggish as of late, scoring just three runs in the previous two games.
The Chukars (7-5) host the Rockies today at Melaleuca Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.