Fresno, Calif. - After being shut out for the first time this season last night, the Fresno Grizzlies did not let the loss affect them as they defeated the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 3-1 on Saturday night at Chukchansi Park. The Grizzlies have yet to lose back-to-back games in 2012.
The Fresno pitching staff showcased why it is among the best in the PCL once again on Saturday. Led by starter Andrew Kown, the Grizzlies only surrendered the one run on five hits, none of which were for extra bases. Dan Otero, in his first outing with the Grizzlies this season, and Heath Hembree followed Kown with a pair of shutout innings each. The Grizzlies pitchers have combined for a 3.05 ERA this year, which is the best mark in the PCL.
Center fielder Justin Christian gave the Grizzlies an early advantage with a leadoff home run in the first inning. It was the first lead off homer hit by the Grizzlies in 2012.
The Sky Sox responded quickly, though, in the second inning. Kown hit Andrew Brown with a pitch to start the frame, and Hernan Iribarren hit a line drive single to advance Brown to third. After Iribarren stole second, Chad Tracy drove in Brown with a sacrifice fly to right for Colorado Springs' only run of the night.
The Grizzlies added the game-deciding run in the third inning. Christian reached base with a walk and advanced to third on Skyler Stromsmoe's proceeding single. The Sky Sox elected to allow Christian to score on the following batter Francisco Peguero's groundout to third baseman Jordan Pacheco.
In the sixth, back-to-back singles by Peguero and Roger Kieschnick led off the inning. Charlie Culberson hit a weak grounder in front of the plate where Sky Sox starter Carlos Torres fielded the ball and tagged out Peguero at the home. Todd Linden followed with a walk to load the bases for Brock Bond. After Adam Ottavino spelled Torres, Bond hit into a groundout to Pacheco, but it allowed Kieschnick to score and make it 3-1 Fresno.
Kown earned the win for the Grizzlies, his third of the season and first in his last three starts. Hembree tallied the save, his fourth, after throwing a perfect ninth inning for his second consecutive outing.
The final game of the four-game series will be played on Sunday, April 29th at 2:05 pm. Fresno's right-hander Yusmeiro Petit (1-1, 6.27) will face lefty Christian Friedrich (2-1, 2.33) of Colorado Springs.