For most of Wednesday night, Corbin Burnes held the 51s relatively quiet.
Las Vegas lost 6-2 to Colorado Springs in the series opener at Security Service Field, unable to generate much offense against the righty, who is the Brewers’ top pitching prospect, in his six innings of work.
“He had a pretty good slider. He kept that down and for the most part, kept the ball down. The umpire had a low zone so it worked in his favor,” acting manager and hitting coach Joel Chimelis said. “He had a pretty good cutter into lefties, jamming the lefties a little bit and the righties hitting the ball off the end of the bat because of the cutter. Guys had to stay a little bit longer through the zone because of that. We made a couple adjustments but he pitched well.”
Some of the opportunities they did have, especially early, were wiped out by base-running mistakes and double plays.
Las Vegas (27-39) hit into double plays in three of the first four innings, one which doubled as a base-running blunder by Phillip Evans.
After finally breaking through against Burnes in the sixth inning with a Zach Borenstein two-run single up the middle to cut the Colorado Springs (34-29) lead to 3-2, Borenstein made the last out of the inning at third base to end the threat.
“The guys competed well but obviously we didn’t get a couple big hits,” Chimelis said. “We scattered eight hits but we didn’t get big hits and we made a couple of running mistakes but they were aggressive mistakes.”
Starter Cody Martin struggled with his command, giving up four walks and hitting two batters in his five innings of work.
Martin gave up three runs — two in the second inning on a Jett Bandy home run and another in the fifth on a Brett Phillips blast in his outing.
“He got a little bit too fine in the strike zone trying to pick on the corners and he fell behind,” Chimelis said. “He got in trouble when he got too fine with the strike zone instead of throwing it in the zone and letting it break out of the zone. Even his fastballs were missing away, away.”
Reliever Kevin McGowan had some problems of his own, walking two in his one inning of work. He also gave up three runs on three hits, including a two-RBI hit from Tyrone Taylor and a Phillips RBI hit.
“I don’t think he was aggressive attacking the hitters. Fell behind and when you do that, you’re asking for it,” Chimelis said. “We were one pitch away from not having any runs scoring but he hung a breaking ball and a guy got a hit to left field with two outs. But he just fell behind, wasn’t aggressive and working ahead in the count.”
The 51s had just rallied in the top of the frame to come within a run before McGowan gave up his three, which broke the game open for the Sky Sox, who didn’t allow another run.
“We got a run down but then bottom of the sixth, we couldn’t put up a zero, we couldn’t put up a shutdown inning so that got them back in the game,” Chimelis said. “The guys competed well but obviously we didn’t get a couple big hits.”