Apr 21, 2010 5:18 AM
The Sky Sox won a squeaker Tuesday night at Security Service Field, downing the Tacoma Rainiers in 10 innings, 6-5.
The Sky Sox bats were quiet in the early innings as Tacoma starter Steven Shell controlled the game from the get-go, facing just 20 batters through the first five. Mustering just two singles and two walks, the Sox only had one batter pass first base during the span - a routine double-play grounder that left fielder Cole Garner beat out at second base.
The Rainiers got out to a quick lead as the third Tacoma batter of the game, Jack Hannahan, mashed a two-run homer to right to put the visitors on top, 2-0. Tacoma centerfielder Greg Halman added the team's third run while leading off the second inning with a monster shot to left center.
Sox pitcher Samuel Deduno struggled in his outing, allowing three runs before being pulled in the sixth with two down and the bases full. Relieved by dominating Sox setup man Matt Reynolds, the hulking lefty induced a groundball out on his first pitch, ending the threat with no damage done.
Ending the dry spell in the sixth, left fielder Cole Garner hit a lead-off, wall-ball double to deep left center. Sacrificed to third by right fielder Matt Miller, Garner scored on the next at-bat on a groundout RBI by first baseman Mike Paulk, putting the Sox on the board, 3-1.
With the Rainiers retired quickly by Reynolds in the top half of the seventh, Jay Payton homered to lead off the bottom half, his first of the year. Catcher Michael McKenry made it back-to-back shots by cranking an 0-2 fastball to deep left center, tying the game at 3-3. The Sky Sox continued to apply the pressure in the eighth, as a leadoff walk and single set up a Brad Eldred RBI groundout that put the Sox ahead, 4-3.
The Rainiers would not go quietly, however, putting together quite the two-out rally off closer Juan Rincon in the ninth. Starting with a long double by shortstop Josh Wilson, Tacoma strung together a walk and two singles to go up 5-4.
But the Sky Sox had a flair for the dramatic as well, delivering a two-out surge of their own, as third baseman Travis Metcalf launched a game-tying solo home run to send the contest into extra innings.
Recently activated reliever Matt Wilhite sent down Tacoma in order in the tenth, setting the stage for the most thrilling conclusion yet to any Sky Sox game this season.
With two down and no runners on, designated hitter Brad Eldred smoked a double to left center that narrowly missed clearing the fence. Manager Stu Cole substituted Warren Schaeffer to pinch run for Eldred, while consecutive walks pushed the runner to third. With Security Service Field at their feet, shortstop Jonathan Herrera slapped a 3-2 single down the line to third, which scored Schaeffer from third for the game's deciding run.
With the victory, the Sky Sox improve to 7-6, taking sole possession of first place in the Pacific North, while Tacoma slips to 6-7. Colorado Springs' Matt Wilhite (1-0) was credited with the win while Levale Speigner (1-2) took the loss.
Wednesday's game is scheduled for an 11:05 AM first pitch with Sox righty Tim Redding (0-0, 1.80) facing off against lefty Chris Seddon (1-0, 6.10).