Fresno, Calif. - The Fresno Grizzlies managed to climb back from a four-run deficit, but a four-run seventh inning by the Colorado Springs Sky Sox dealt the Grizzlies a 9-6 defeat on Sunday at Chukchansi Park.
The Grizzlies entered the bottom of the fourth inning trailing 5-1, but a two-run blast by Roger Kieschnick to the poolside berm in left-center pulled the Grizzlies within two. In the fifth, Juan Perez drove in Johnny Monell with an RBI single while Kensuke Tanaka tied the game with a run-scoring force out.
In the seventh inning, however, the Sky Sox answered with four runs, benefitted by two errors by the Grizzlies. Charlie Culberson started the inning reaching on a Juan Ciriaco throwing error, and DJ LeMahieu followed by hitting an infield single up the middle. Jake Dunning finally got two straight outs after LeMahieu's single, but Tyler Colvin reached on catcher's interference for the second time in the game to load the bases. The next batter, Lars Davis, was hit by a pitch to force in a run and make it 6-5. Tim Wheeler did most of the damage when he followed Davis with a bases clearing triple to give the Sky Sox a 9-5 advantage.
Dunning suffered the loss after allowing the four unearned runs over two innings pitched. It was Dunning's first defeat of the season.
The Sky Sox quickly established an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first with four hits off Grizzlies starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit. Colvin drove in LeMahieu for the game's first run, preceding a two-run double by Davis.
Petit did not last long as he left the game in top of the fourth inning. The right-hander came out to warm up for the fourth inning, but he was removed after throwing one warm-up pitch. He finished the game tossing three innings, allowing three runs on four hits.
Mitch Lively relieved Petit on a sudden summons from the bullpen. The right-hander allowed two runs in the fourth. Tommy Manzella hit an RBI double and Sky Sox starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz hit a single up the middle off second base to score Manzella. Lively threw a three-up, three-down fifth inning to complete his two innings of work.
Brett Bochy threw two shutout innings for Fresno, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Nick Schmidt picked up the win for the Sky Sox after throwing three innings of relief. Mike McClendon tallied his first save of the year.
Tony Abreu, in his only at-bat of the night, scored Perez with a bloop single in the first inning. Perez led off the Grizzlies lineup with a single, one of his team-high four hits on the night. Perez also stole two bases.
The Grizzlies added one run in the seventh when Perez and Gary Brown hit back-to-back doubles.
Perez added another double in the ninth inning with two outs, but he was stranded on third to end the game.
The loss drops the Grizzlies to a sub-.500 record (15-16) for just the second time this season.
The Grizzlies will fight off a series sweep attempt by Colorado Springs on Monday. Right-hander Chris Heston will face fellow righty Justin Berg. First pitch is 12:05 pm.