The Sky Sox gave the Memphis Redbirds a large dose of their own medicine by hitting two leadoff homers en route to the 8-2 win Thursday night. Lewis Brinson returned for the first time since Friday and CRUSHED a solo homer on a 3-2 pitch to open the scoring at 1-0 Sox. Garrett Cooper stayed scorching hot, crushing a leadoff solo homer in the fourth, and Andrew Susac capped off the inning with an RBI single upping the lead to 3-0. Cooper connected on an RBI single in the fifth and Eric Sogard increased the lead to 5-0 with a sac fly to center.
Paolo Espino took the mound in his second start and worked through a scoreless first, picking up the final out of the frame on a pickoff of Luke Voit at second base and continued on through four scoreless, before giving up a two-run homer to Carson Kelly in the fifth which cut the Sox lead to 5-2.
The bats continued to make solid contact and Colorado Springs tallied three more runs on three hits, including a Cooper two-run double, and a Nate Orf sacrifice fly. With the 8-2 lead in hand, the Sky Sox used Tyler Cravy and Wei-Chung Wang in relief to lock down the first road win of the year. The victory snapped the Sox three-game losing streak and also put a stop to the ‘Birds four-game win streak.
The Sky Sox banged out a series-high 10 hits and 7 of the 8 position players in the starting lineup had a knock. They also had a series-low eight strikeouts.
Garrett Cooper had himself another BIG night with a 4-for-5 performance at the dish. He had a homer, a double, and two singles. The first baseman has recorded at least one hit in each of the first seven games of the season; he also has three multi-hit games and two four RBI games under his belt. He leads the Brewers organization and is tied for the PCL lead with 12 hits. His 10 RBI are good enough for second in the league and first among Brewers farmhands. Cooper is now batter 12-for-28 (.429) through the first seven games of the year. Pretty tough to top that night!
Lewis Brinson went 1-for-5 with the solo homer that began the game. He worked the count full and CRUSHED an inside fastball out to left for a no-doubter, his first of the year.
Kyle Wren had a double, walk and two runs scored.
Ryan Cordell snapped an 0-for-11 stretch with a single, he also had walk and two runs scored.
Eric Sogard reaches on a single, walked, tallied an RBI on a sacrifice fly and scored a run.
Nick Noonan went 1-for-4 with a double.
Andrew Susac joined the Sky Sox on a MLB rehab assignment and caught 7 innings while going 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Paolo Espino is the right man for the job, that is for sure. He’s not going to overpower you, but he’s going to throw a boatload of strikes and give your team a chance to win. And he did just that Thursday night. The righty went six innings and allowed the two runs on five hits, walked one (his first walk through two starts) and struck out six. The one hiccup was the two-run homer tagged by Carson Kelly in the fifth. He threw 83 pitches, 49 for strikes in his first quality start.
Tyler Cravy worked two scoreless, striking out two and retiring all six batters he faced in his third appearance of the season.
Wei-Chung Wang pitched a perfect ninth in his third appearance.
Play of the Game –
Lewis Brinson’s MAMMOTH solo shot that opened up a big night for the Sox bats:
Pregame Interview –
The first installment of Sweet 16 with Dan Karcher and Manager Rick Sweet –
Let’s see if the Sox can keep it rolling tonight in the series finale…On to tonight’s matchup.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (4-3) at Memphis Redbirds (6-2) – 6:05 p.m. MST
NOTE: The Brewers announced that RHP Damien Magnifico did not clear waivers and was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for the #15 International Signing Bonus Slot, which came out to be $885,300.
Sky Sox Starter: Brandon Woodruff climbs the hill for the second time this season, and career appearance number 1 against the Memphis Redbirds. His first start of the year was certainly no disappointment as he pitched into the seventh without allowing a run. The righty had a tremendous 2016 season in which he combined to go 14-9 with a 2.68 ERA in 28 starts between High-A Brevard County and Double-A Biloxi. He allowed 51 runs (47 earned) on 121 hits in 158 innings. He walked 40 and struck out a Minor League best 173 opposing hitters.
He is a ground ball and strikeout pitcher, that style should play well in Triple-A, particularly in Colorado Springs. Drafted by the Brewers in the 11th round of the 2014 draft out of Mississippi State, Woodruff has compiled a career record of 20-18 with a 2.98 ERA. He is rated as the 7th best prospect and the labeled as the pitcher with the best fastball in the Brewers organization.
Last Time Out – 4/8/2017 vs. Omaha – Sox win 11-2
Woodruff won his Triple-A debut with 6 1/3 strong, scoreless innings over the Omaha Storm Chasers. He scattered five hits across his outing, did not walk a bater and struck out four. He was ultra efficient tossing just 77 pitches, 57 of which went for strikes. He was vocal when Rick Sweet came with the hook in the seventh, not wanting to come out, but gave way to the skipper and walked away a winner.
Redbirds starting arm: RHP Mike Mayers (pronounced Myers) gets the nod for the Redbirds as they look to get back to their winning ways. Mayers is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA through one start, collecting the victory over New Orleans on April 9. The righty faced off against the Sox twice a season ago and went 0-1 in the starts allowing 5 runs on 14 hits in 12 innings. He walked five and struck out nine, one start came at home, the other on the road for the Grove City, Ohio native. Those are his only two starts against the Springs in his career.
He was selected by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2013 draft out of Mississippi. He made his big league debut on July 24, 2016 against the Dodgers at Busch Stadium and was dealt the loss recording four outs, and allowing 9 runs on 8 hits. He gave up two homers to Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick. He would also make three relief appearances in September and earned his first MLB in against the Pirates. The righty 21-29 with a 3.64 ERA over his first 74 minor-league outings spanning his first four-plus professional seasons.
Last Time Out: 4/9/2017 at New Orleans – Redbirds win 8-4
Mayers opened his season with a victory over the New Orleans Baby Cakes. He logged five innings and limited the Cakes to three runs on nine hitsm he walked a pair and struck out three. He did allow a two-run homer to Isaac Galloway in the fifth inning. He threw 72 pitches, 48 for strikes.
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of tonight’s game from AutoZone Park in Memphis at 6:05 p.m. I will fire up the Sky Sox Warmup machine at 5:30 MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,