Colorado Springs, Colo. - Colorado Springs Sky Sox starting pitcher Michael Blazek dealt 7.2 strong innings to cool off a red-hot Oklahoma City Dodgers lineup and lead the Sky Sox to a 5-2 win Sunday afternoon at Security Service Field.
Entering Sunday, Blazek's longest start of the year had been just 5.2 innings and he had not completed at least 7.2 innings since 2010. After giving up two runs within the first three innings, Blazek (1-1) completely shut down there Dodgers thereafter, as he retired the final 13 batters he faced, as well as 14 of the final 15. The right-hander induced 13 groundouts on the day and needed just 41 pitches to retire those 13 consecutive batters to complete his outing. He ended up allowing five hits, with no walks and five strikeouts.
The Dodgers (37-30) had scored at least six runs and notched at least 11 hits in nine consecutive games prior to Sunday, but could only muster two runs and seven hits in the loss. OKC was also held without a homer for the first time in 10 games.
The Dodgers got off to a good start before Blazek settled in, as both Alex Verdugo and Kyle Farmer collected doubles to begin the game and give OKC a 1-0 lead.
The Sky Sox (39-28) took their first lead in the bottom the second inning. With two on and none out, Nick Noonan hit a grounder toward the middle fielded by Willie Calhoun. Calhoun threw off balance toward first base, and the ball went into the Sky Sox dugout. Both runners ended up scoring, putting Colorado Springs in front, 2-1.
The Dodgers pulled even in their next at-bat. Farmer notched his second double of the day, and Calhoun followed with a RBI single to make it 2-2.
With one out in the bottom of the inning, Garrett Cooper put the Sky Sox back in the lead. He sent a fly ball to left-center field, just out of the reach of a diving Mike Freeman, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis scored all the way from first base to give Colorado Springs the edge.
After Cooper's double, Dodgers starting pitcher Trevor Oaks retired the next eight hitters and finished his outing by retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. Despite a solid start, Oaks (3-2) ended up with a losing decision for the first time since April 11 in his second start of the season. He ended up allowing three runs and five hits, with one walk and six strikeouts.
The Dodgers seemed poised to tie the game in the fourth inning after Trayce Thompson hit a leadoff triple. Freeman followed and grounded out to first base with Cooper playing in. Charlie Culberson came up next and hit a line drive caught by the shortstop Yadiel Rivera. Thompson was far off third base and was doubled off to end the inning.
It stayed a 3-2 game until Blazek helped extend the Sky Sox's lead in the seventh inning, knocking a double with two outs. He then scored on a RBI single by Kyle Wren to make it 4-2.
After Blazek left the game in the eighth, Verdugo and Farmer notched singles to put the tying runs on base, but Wei-Chung Wang induced a pop out from Calhoun to escape the inning.
Verdugo and Farmer each collected multi-hit games and went a combined 5-for-8 with three doubles, but the rest of the lineup went just 2-for-25.
The Sky Sox finished the scoring the bottom of the eighth inning. Ryan Cordell led off and sent a pop fly to shallow right-center field. Calhoun went back from second base and appeared to be under it, but Verdugo called him off and tried to make a sliding grab. The ball landed for a bloop double, and after stealing third base, Cordell scored on Cooper's fourth hit of the game.
Wang remained in the game in the ninth inning and retired the side in order, earning his first career save.
With the loss, the Dodgers missed a chance to grab a share of first place in the American Northern Division for the first time this season. The Sky Sox have still maintained sole possession of first place since April 14.
The Dodgers and Sky Sox next meet Monday at 7:40 p.m. Central time. Live coverage begins at 7:25 p.m. on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com, or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.