COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - Memphis took the lead early and capitalized on situational hitting by edging Colorado Springs 7-4 on Wednesday night at Security Service Field.
With the win, the Redbirds took a slim 6-5 advantage in the season series against the Sky Sox and are now 20-3 when they outhit their opponent.
Memphis (23-23) got on the scoreboard in the first inning when Randal Grichuk (2-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB) hit a one-out double and Oscar Taveras (3-5, RBI, R) followed with his 34th RBI of the season on a single past the second baseman. They grabbed the lead and took off from there.
Taveras, Stephen Piscotty (3-5, R) and Scott Moore (1-5, RBI) then started the third inning with three consecutive singles. Moore's line drive hit to center scored Taveras and Piscotty was plated on an Ed Easley (0-2, RBI) sacrifice fly to deep left field. The 'Birds possessed a 3-0 lead after three complete.
The Sky Sox (21-24) cut into the lead in the fourth inning. Drew Garcia and Evan Frey notched back-to-back RBI singles. Garcia's hit scored Ryan Wheeler but it also led to Ben Paulsen being thrown out at home. Grichuk fielded the ground ball in centerfield and threw a strike to Easley at home who tagged Paulsen out.
The two runs knocked starting pitcher Kurt Heyer out of the game. The right-hander had been promoted from Double-A earlier in the day and was making his Triple-A debut. He managed 3.2 innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and four walks. He gave way to a bullpen that continued their strong May by combining to strike out five batters and leaving two inherited runners on base.
The Redbirds' offense tacked on insurance runs in the sixth and seventh innings, capped by a Grichuk two-run home run in the sixth. The long ball was the outfielder's ninth of the season and his sixth during his last 10 games.
Xavier Scruggs (0-3, BB, R) kicked the seventh frame off with a walk, was moved to second on an Easley sacrifice bunt and driven home by Pete Kozma (2-5, RBI, R). Kozma scored later in the inning when Greg Garcia (1-6, R, RBI) singled. At the end of the night, Colorado Springs ended up committing four errors on the night, giving them the most in the Pacific Coast League.
The home team got solo home runs from Michael McKenry and Paulsen in the sixth and eighth innings respectively, but they were not enough to mount a comeback. David Aardsma (1.35) recorded his sixth save of the season by throwing a hitless ninth and helping get Memphis back to a .500 record.
The teams conclude their series tomorrow night at 7:35 pm CT at Security Service Field. Angel Castro (5-2, 3.27) will get the nod for the Redbirds. The Sky Sox will counter with Tyler Matzek (2-2, 4.19)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.