Colorado Springs opened the road campaign in Memphis last night and, boy, did the Redbirds seem pretty determined to defend their home turf or what?! They sent the Sky Sox a powerful message, hitting four homers, en route to the 5-1 win Tuesday night at AutoZone Park.
Josh Hader made his second start of the season and was greeted by leadoff home runs in the first, second, and third innings, while Memphis righty Daniel Poncedeleon struck out the side in the top of the first and never looked back. Harrison Bader jolted the first solo shot of the night on the 10th pitch he saw from Hader in the top of the first inning. Carson Kelly followed suit with a leadoff blast in the second, and Luke Voit began the third with a bang.
The southpaw completed the third before Rick Sweet called upon Tim Dillard to begin the fourth. Dillard stopped the bleeding with a scoreless fourth and fifth, but the Sox still trailed 3-0. Nick Noonan pinch hit for Dillard to open the sixth inning and. guess what, HOMERED! His solo shot brought the Sox within two at 3-1, but that was as close as they would get.
Memphis picked up its final two runs on a solo homer (go figure) off the bat of Carson Kelly in the 6th and another on a wild pitch in the 7th.
For the second straight game, the Sox were held to five hits, and no one had a multi-hit game. They went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and struck out a season-high 13 times.
Garrett Cooper continued to swing the bat well and had one of the five hits. He has at least one hit in all five games this season and is off to a 7-for-19 start (.368). He also walked and was hit by a pitch, making him the only Sky Sox player to reach base three times. His OBP is now at .455.
Nick Noonan went 1-for-2 with a pinch-hit solo homer in the sixth. It marked the 49th time he had gone deep in the minors, going along with the one big league homer he has.
Ivan De Jesus got off the schnied with a pinch hit single in the 9th, his first hit of the year.
Brett Phillips and Eric Sogard were the other two Sox to pick up knocks.
Ryan Cordell didn’t end up in the hit column, but was hit and worked a walk, joining Cooper as the only two Sky Sox who reached twice.
Josh Hader took the loss in his second start, lasting just three innings and giving up the three solo homers. He only yielded two other hits and walked a pair, he did not strikeout a batter. Thirty eight of his 67 pitches crossed the zone for strikes. The only other time in his career he gave up more than one homer was August 26, 2015, when he gave up two to the Mobile Baybears, pitching for the Biloxi Shuckers. Yes, that’s right, 117 games on the mound and just 2 in which he has allowed more than one homer.
Tim Dillard upped his scoreless innings streak to three to open 2017 with another two clean sheets. He walked one and struck out two.
Tyler Cravy worked two scoreless innings.
Michael Blazek cleared waivers and made his 2017 debut with a four-out appearance. He gave up two runs, one on Kelly’s second solo homer of the game in the sixth and another on a wild pitch in the seventh.
Tristan Archer made his Triple-A debut with a scoreless eighth inning, in which he picked up two strikeouts. He has added to the Sox roster earlier on Tuesday.
Pregame Interview – Dan Karcher with Sky Sox hitting coach Al LeBeouf
The past has passed, it’s now on to tonight!
Sky Sox at Redbirds – 5:35 p.m. first pitch
Sky Sox Pitcher: Matt Garza has joined Colorado Springs on the road and will make the first appearance of his 2017 season tonight against the Redbirds on a major-league rehab assignment. The righty landed on the disabled list on March 31 with a strained right groin and has been limited in his baseball activities since. He did not fare well in the spring, pitching to a 8.59 ERA in six appearances with the Brewers. He has never pitched for the Sky Sox, in fact the last time he pitched at the Triple-A level was for the Iowa Cubs in 2013 where he went 1-0 in two starts. The righty was originally selected by the Twins in the first round of the 2005 draft out of Fresno State University. He made his MLB debut for Minnesota on August 11, 2006.
Garza has pitched for the Twins, the Rays, the Cubs, the Rangers and the Brewers across parts of 11 season. He has compiled an 87-97 MLB record with a 4.03 ERA in 266 games. Prior to that he saw action in 61 MiLB games in which he went 23-17 with a 2.94 ERA. Tonight will mark the third PCL start for the right-hander.
Memphis Redbirds starting arm – Tyler Lyons gets the call for round two of his big league rehab assignment tonight against Colorado Springs.
The 29-year old pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings on April 7th against the New Orleans, down in the big easy. He allowed three hits, walked one and struck out two in the no-decision. He threw 58 pitches, 38 of which went for strikes. He spent all of 2016 with the St. Louis Cardinals until he landed on the DL with a right-knee stress reaction on July 31. He didn’t make another appearance and had offseason knee which has put him on the rehab stint to open the year. All told the southpaw went 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 30 relief appearances. He allowed 18 runs on 35 hits in 48 innings.
This is his fifth go-round with the Redbirds and tonight will be his 64th appearance with the team. He is 28-18 with a 3.72 ERA. The lefty has faced the Sky Sox once back in 2014. He picked up the win with 5 innings of one run ball at AutoZone Park on July 18. He has a minor-league record of 42-26 with a 3.88 ERA and a major-league record of 7-9 with a 4.05 ERA in 70 appearances, 20 of which have been starts. He made his debut in 2013 and became the first starting pitcher in MLB history to pitch at least 7.0+ innings in the first two career starts, allowing one run or less, four hits or less, and one walk or less.
Lyons was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 9th round of the 2010 draft out of Oklahoma State University.
Enjoy the game!