Fresno, Calif. - Fresno Grizzlies starting pitcher Michael Kickham was in line for his first Triple-A on Friday, but five unanswered runs by the Colorado Springs Sky Sox after the eighth inning led to a 5-1 loss for the Grizzlies in 11 innings at Chukchansi Park.
Kickham did not allow a run in a season-high 7 1/3 innings, but the Sky Sox struck for their first run of the game at the last possible moment. Greg Golson hit a two-out solo home run to left field off Heath Hembree in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 1-1.
In the 11th inning, Colorado Springs broke out for four runs off reliever Mitch Lively. After back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, Charlie Blackmon hit an RBI double to the right-center field gap to give the Sky Sox their first lead of the night, 2-1. Golson followed Blackmon with a two-run single, giving him three RBI on the night. Golson later scored on Ben Paulsen's double to cap the game's scoring.
The blown save for Hembree was his second consecutive failed save opportunity. He was a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities to start the year. The right-hander finished the game throwing two innings and striking out three.
The loss was the Grizzlies' first defeat this season when leading after eight innings.
Kickham had two strikeouts in three of his first four innings, totaling a season-high eight. The left-hander surrendered just four hits and one walk in his scoreless 7 1/3 innings.
Kickham even contributed to the lone run for the Grizzlies on Friday. He scored Fresno's first and only tally when Gary Brown doubled into the left field corner, plating Kickham from second base. Kickham led off the third inning with a ground-rule double deep into the right-center field gap.
Kickham started the eighth inning, but after allowing a leadoff double to Tommy Manzella and a one-out walk to relief pitcher Rob Scahill, Brett Bochy was brought in to spell the lefty. Bochy subsequently struck out Charlie Culberson and induced a pop out by Tim Wheeler to strand the game-tying run at third base.
Colorado Springs reliever Cory Riordan picked up the win, but Rob Scahill tossed three shutout innings out of the Sky Sox bullpen. Starter Chris Volstad allowed one run on five hits over six innings in a no-decision.
Brett Pill had his season-high 13-game hitting streak snapped after going 0-for-5.
Kensuke Tanaka had a team-high two hits after entering in the fourth inning, replacing Tony Abreu. Abreu, in his first game of an MLB Rehab assignment, went 1-for-2.
The second game of the four-game series against Colorado Springs is tomorrow at 7:05 pm. Right-hander Boof Bonser will start for Fresno and face Sky Sox righty Jeff Manship.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.