BILLINGS, Montana - The Billings Mustangs (13-11) dropped their third consecutive game on Thursday with a 4-2 loss to the Grand Junction Rockies (10-14) in front of 2,534 at Dehler Park.
For the fourth straight game a Billings opponent managed to score a run in the first inning. Shael Mendoza was walked by Luis Alecis (2-2) to open the contest and scored two batters later on an RBI double from Ryan Vilade. Mendoza finished the game 2-for-4 with a double. He has five hits in his first two games against the Mustangs.
Billings would not get on the board until the bottom of the fourth. Trailing 2-0 Alejo Lopez led off the inning with a double to left. He scored later in the inning on a passed ball. The hit extended Lopez's hitting streak to a team-best 10 games.
Jeffri Ocando (3-0) threw six solid innings for the Rockies. He would give up just one run on five hits and strike out two. He did not allow a walk.
Billings made a couple of opportunities for themselves, putting runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh, but failing to score both times.
Stuart Fairchild impressed at the plate with a 3-for-3 night which included his first professional triple. It was the second time he has wrangled three hits in a game for the Mustangs.
Ryan Nutof tossed three shutout innings of relief, giving up just one hit and striking out one. He did not receive a decision.
Trailing 4-1 going to the bottom of the ninth, the Mustangs brought the winning run to the plate twice in the inning. With one out, Leandro Santana and Andy Sugilio strung together consecutive singles to put men at first and second. A throwing error by Chad Spanberger allowed Santana to score to make it 4-2 with two on and just one out. That brought the winning run to the plate, but Jefry Valdez would strike out the next two batters he saw to earn his fourth save in as many opportunities.
The loss puts the Mustangs on their longest losing streak of the season at three games and deals them their first home series loss of the year. They will look to avoid the sweep Friday against the Grand Junction Rockies at Dehler Park in Billings. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.