For the second time in a week, Stolmy Pimentel was thrust into a start on short notice.
And again, Pimentel struggled, giving up a four-run lead as the 51s fell 14-6 to the host Colorado Springs Sky Sox in a Pacific Coast League game at Security Service Field.
Pimentel had to start May 13 after the Mets called up Sean Gilmartin and again Friday when they summoned Gilmartin to New York for a roster move they didn’t end up making.
The last time out, Pimentel pitched just 2 1/3 innings. This time, he gave them 4 1/3 but was knocked around for seven runs.
“His stuff was just short today,” Las Vegas manager Wally Backman said. “And we needed innings out of (him) today, and it didn’t help that the way the fifth went … (Jeff) Walters is a guy that I thought would be able to get us out of the inning and keep the game close, so it didn’t happen.”
The 51s essentially lost the game in the fifth inning when Pimentel and Walters gave up a combined seven runs to turn a tie game into a blowout.
Pimentel retired just one batter in the inning and left with two runners on.
“We spotted him a four-run lead in the first, and he couldn’t get through the fifth,” Backman said. “Took him out (after) 4 1/3 and we’re still in the game, but Walters came in and let both inherited runners score and four of his own, so that was really the whole game right there in the fifth inning.”
For the second straight night, the 51s jumped to a big lead in the first with Brandon Nimmo and T.J. Rivera driving in runs before Ty Kelly doubled to left for two more. The 51s didn’t score again until the ninth when Rivera hit a two-run homer to cap a 3-for-5 day.
In the interim, the four-run lead disappeared quickly, as Pimentel gave up two runs in the first and one in both the second and third before getting the hook in the fifth.
The Sky Sox added three more runs off Dario Alvarez in the eighth inning — his second inning of work.
Alvarez was one of just three relievers available. Four worked in Thursday’s victory, and Erik Goeddel, like Gilmartin, had been summoned to New York.
“I knew I only had three guys that could pitch out of the bullpen tonight without ruining some guys or without abusing them,” Backman said. “I had to get (Pimentel) far enough so I could use Alvarez, (Josh) Smoker and Walters to keep the other guys relatively fresh or usable for the next day. We were short.”
And though Pimentel struggled, by the time the game was handed over to the bullpen, the 51s were still in it, down only one run in the fifth.
“We needed to hold them there where we were at and we had a chance,” Backman said. “We weren’t able to do that.”
Betsy Helfand can be reached at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BetsyHelfand