Cody Asche took his base without seeing a pitch, intentionally walked as the Sky Sox opted to face Colton Plaia instead.
That move backfired as Plaia made them pay with a two-run double that wound up being the difference in the Las Vegas 51s’ 7-5 10-inning victory over Colorado Springs at Security Service Field.
That followed a play in which pitcher Tristan Archer made an error trying to nab a runner at home that gave the 51s (28-39) a 5-4 lead at the time.
“With (Christian) Colon at third base, (Archer) got the error. With one out (Colon) was going on contact,” acting manager and hitting coach Joel Chimelis said. “With no outs, the ball’s got to go through and we were fortunate enough that he made a bad throw. Plaia came up after intentionally walking Asche, he hit that double down the left-field line and that obviously gave us a three-run lead. They scored one so we still felt pretty comfortable trying to finish the game.”
Drew Smith was able to finish out the Sky Sox (34-30), though he did give up a run in the 10th inning.
He wasn’t as successful an inning before. Smith, in for the save, instead served up a solo home run to Christian Bethancourt — his second of the game — to tie it up 4-4.
But Smith was able to work his way out of a bases-loaded jam to get the 51s into extras — with some help from the Sky Sox.
“It was tough because we were up and they scored. It was a tough situation,” Chimelis said. “It was like ‘Oh no, here we go again,’ but we made a good defensive play and they couldn’t score. They had bad base running that last inning and we doubled up the runner so that was good.”
Before the ninth, the 51s had been clinging to a 4-3 lead since the seventh inning when they finally got some offensive production. A Zach Borenstein solo home run and Johnny Monell pinch-hit, bases-clearing double gave them their first lead of the game.
They had been trailing since the first inning when the Sky Sox scored their first run on a Keon Broxton groundout that plated Nate Orf, who had tripled. They added another two runs in the third inning on Bethancourt’s first home run of the game.
Drew Gagnon gave up all three of those runs but that was it for him in his outing. He gave up those three runs on five hits in six innings, while striking out nine.
“Gagnon kept us in the game. He pitched really well (and) competed his butt off,” Chimelis said. “He made a couple bad pitches. Other than that, he pitched really well. He pitched six innings which got us deep in the game to help our bullpen and keep them fresh.”
The righty pitched well enough for the win but whether it’s been because of the bullpen letting a late lead slipping away or a lack of run support, he is still searching for his first win with the 51s this season.
He had left with a lead, though, as the 51s finally broke through off of Sky Sox pitching in the seventh.
“The guys kept competing. We faced a very good pitcher (Freddy Peralta) the first three innings. We had a tough time with him but like I said, the guys competed,” Chimelis said. “It was kind of late in the game we were able to come back.”