With their backs against the wall, the Raptors took game one of against the Rockies in Grand Junction, 6-2. The win keeps the Raptors' playoff hopes alive; Ogden must win two of the final three games against Grand Junction to make the playoffs.
Rob McDonnell (4-0) was sharp on the mound yet again for the Raptors, giving up two runs in five innings for his team-leading fourth win. McDonnell's last outing was against Idaho Falls, when he also gave up two runs in five innings to stop a nasty 11-game Raptor losing streak at Melaleuca Field and keep the Raptors in the playoff chase. He was even more impressive tonight, striking out seven batters and only giving up three hits, lowering his ERA to 3.93.
Grand Junction scored both runs on a double by Roberto Ramos in the fourth. Ogden responded in the fifth when Keibert Ruiz doubled, and DJ Peters hit an opposite-field home run to tie the game. After Luis Paz flied out, Brandon Montgomery hit a go-ahead blast to center field, his sixth of the season. In the bottom of the fifth, McDonnell set down the Rockies in order for the third time in the game.
The Raptors scored again in the sixth when Mitchell Hansen hit a sacrifice fly to score Brock Carpenter. Ogden had the bases-loaded with no outs but could only manage one run.
DJ Peters led off the seventh inning with his second bomb of the game. He went 3-5 on the night to raise his batting average to .356, third in the league. He raised his home run total to 13, also third in the league, behind teammate Cody Thomas (14) and Ronnie Gideon of Helena (16).
For good measure, Ruiz and Peters teamed up again in the ninth to score the Raptors' sixth and final run. It was the fourth RBI of the game for Peters.
Ruiz, Carpenter, and Peters each had three hits tonight to carry the Raptors. Ruiz extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
Joe Mortillaro and Vinny Santarsiero pitched four scoreless outings out of the bullpen to close out the victory. They combined to give up one hit and strike out four.
The Ogden pitching staff has quietly been pitching well as of late. Since August 15, the staff has a 4.26 ERA, including one disastrous outing at Idaho Falls' House of Horrors, when they gave up 16 earned runs. Not including that game, the staff has a 3.65 ERA over that stretch. On the season, the staff has a 5.31 ERA, so they have been making significant strides. Credit can be given to pitching coaches Don Alexander and Josh Herzenberg, the reliable pitchers such as McDonnell who have provided stability, and the new signees and call-ups, such as Mortillaro and Santarsiero, who have brought added energy.
Ogden plays Grand Junction again tomorrow night in Colorado, needing two wins in the next three days to make the playoffs. Zac Grotz (3-0) will face Alejandro Requena (3-5). Grotz, another recent addition, will make his second start of the season.
You can catch the action with A.P. Harreld by downloading the TuneIn app and going to the Ogden Raptors Network.