Jul 6, 2010 1:43 AM
FRESNO- After spotting Colorado Springs a four-run lead in the first, the Fresno Grizzlies came roaring back to beat the Sky Sox, 8-6 at Chukchansi Park in Fresno Monday night.
Daryl Maday's first Triple-A start got off to a rocky beginning, as he allowed four runs on just two hits in the first inning. With one out, Maday walked Omar Quintanilla, then surrendered a double off the glove of John Bowker in deep left-center. Matt Miller followed with a walk and then Brad Eldred drilled his league-leading 22nd home run of the season onto the lawn under the scoreboard to make it 4-0.
That looked like it might be enough for Sky Sox starter Alan Johnson (7-4), who cruised through three hitless innings to start the game. But everything unraveled for Johnson in a six-run fourth. Emmanuel Burriss singled and took second on a wild pitch, then scored on a Tyler Graham single. Matt Downs followed with a grounder to the third base side that went off Quintanilla's glove and down into the bullpen for a two-base error, scoring Graham. John Bowker walked in front of Brett Pill, who doubled over Jay Payton's head in center, plating Downs and moving Bowker to third. One out later, Ben Copeland singled home both runners. Then, after a 6-4 force by Jackson Williams and a walk to Maday, Burriss notched his second hit of the inning, an RBI-single to score Copeland with the sixth and final run of the frame, chasing Johnson.
Colorado Springs (37-47) got back within one at 6-5 on a solo shot from Quintanilla in the top of the fifth, but Fresno struck again in the bottom of the frame. Bowker followed Downs' leadoff double with an RBI-single to put the Grizzlies back up by two. Fresno got a runner to second base with no outs in both the sixth and seventh, but could not find a way to score in either inning, the score holding at 7-5.
The Grizzlies (51-34) finally did add on in the eighth, as Williams led off with a double, moved to third on Eugenio Velez's pinch groundout to second, and scored on Burriss' chop single over the head of Quintanilla at third. It was the fourth hit of the game for Burriss, who raised his season average to .302.
Geno Espineli came on to toss a scoreless ninth, nailing down his sixth save. That completed the four-run comeback, the largest for the Grizzlies all season. Fresno had not erased a deficit larger than two prior to Monday night.
The Grizzlies and Sky Sox meet again at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday for game three of the four-game set. Matt Yourkin (5-3) will square off against Kurt Birkins (3-4) in a matchup of southpaws at Chukchansi Park.