Jefry Valdez stranded the tying run at second base by striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturdaynight at Melaleuca Field, sealing the Grand Junction Rockies 7-6 win over the Idaho Falls Chukars.
After he struck out Darrell Miller Jr. Valdez hit Travis Jones and balked him to second, but he recovered by punching out Robby Rinn and Amalani Fukofuka to notch his eighth save of the season, which is third most in a single season in franchise history.
Valdez's performance finished a brilliant night for Rockies bullpen which allowed just one run in 8.1 innings after Lucas Gilbreath gave up five runs in the first, allowing seven of the eight men he faced to reach.
Ramon Marcelino singled home a run in the top of the first to give the Rockies the lead before the Chukars rallied for the five two-out runs in the bottom of the inning, which started after Gilbreath got Offerman Collado to ground into a double play. He walked four and allowed three hits.
Alexander Martinez replaced him and got the final out of the first inning and tossed zeroes in the second and third innings before Collado singled home a run off him in the fourth, but from there, the Rockies took over.
With two out in the fifth, Javier Guevara doubled home Joey Bartosic, which advanced Marcelino to third. A wild pitch plated Marcelino to bring the Rockies within three runs.
Hunter Williams retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth, and in the next inning, the Rockies again rallied with two out and grabbed the lead.
Joey Bartosic singled Tyler Bates to third with two out. Brett Stephens singled home Bates to make it a two run game, and Todd Czinege doubled in Bartosic to make it 6-5 and move Stephens to third. Then, Marcelino capped the inning with a two-run single.
Williams stranded the tying in the bottom of the sixth, and Colton Hathcock did the same in the seventh and eighth innings in front of Valdez. Williams earned his second save of the season.
The win improves the Rockies to 17-14 in the second half, 35-34 overall. With seven games to play, they trail the Ogden Raptors by three games for first place in the South Division.
Grand Junction had 15 hits, Czinege, Marcelino, and Guevara had three, while Bartosic and Stephens added a pair. Marcelino drove home three runs.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.