With four shutouts in their previous eight outings, the Portland staff hoped to finish out their homestand in similar fashion. Byung-Hyun Kim and the Colorado Sky Sox, however, had plans of their own as a dearth of timely offense alongside a depleted bullpen plagued the Beavers.
Said skipper Rick Renteria, “I think shutouts are not the typical outcome over the course of the season.”
Mike Thompson (0-2, 19.44 ERA) continued to struggle on the bump right from the get go, lasting just 4.2 innings. The stringy right-hander expended 31 pitches in the first inning, giving up four hits and three earned runs, including a two-run shot by Alexis Gomez. Thompson had better luck in a scoreless second inning, but continued to struggle in the third frame, giving up three more earned runs to Colorado Springs’ explosive offense. Ian Stewart blasted a three-run homer over Paul McAnulty’s head in left field. Stewart finished the game a triple shy of the cycle.
Thompson showed promise a little too late in the fourth inning when he set down the Sky Sox in order.
Renteria removed his starter with two outs in the fifth inning after Thompson walked two batters and gave up three more hits. After 91 ptiches, and just 54 for strikes, Thompson appeared to be losing a bit of velocity. Despite the scabrous outing, Renteria claimed, “Tommy didn’t pitch as bad as his line might indicate.”
Hoping to mop up some of the mess, Kyle Stutes was rattled for five hits and two earned runs over the next 2.1 innings. However, Scott Strickland adjourned his favorable pitching. In spite of allowing the first two Sky Sox hitters to reach base, the 30-year-old right-hander struck out the next three swinging. Strickland has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances.
Another unlikely relief appearance was made by Beavers outfielder Josh Howard in order to safeguard an enervated Portland bullpen. Howard made his first professional pitching experience on April 18, 2007 retiring Sacramento in order. His luck ran out after he managed two more outfield fly ball outs. Tim Olsen’s pinch hit homerun scored Alvin Colina and put the game out far out of reach.
Notwithstanding the blow out, a categorical success for the Beavers was the continued batwork of Craig Stansberry, Paul McAnulty, and Vince Sinisi. Stansberry reached base four times while acquiring two hits. The shortstop, who also made a sensational diving defensive play and throw in the third inning, collected his PCL-leading 15th double in the seventh inning. McAnulty collected two hits in the contest including a triple in the fifth inning. Sinisi, moving up in the Beaver lineup to fifth, proceeded to show signs of promise. Sinisi hit a towering homerun into the Colorado Springs bullpen. It was his sixth of the season and his fourth of the series. Another factor in the loss was ten Beaver baserunners left stranded.