Robert Brender, @robertbrender on TwitterLas Vegas 51s 12, @ Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Rockies) 8 DH Game 2 F/7
The 51s sent 10 batters to the plate in the 4th inning, scoring seven runs and breaking open a close game on their way to a 12-8 Game 2 victory. The win guaranteed the 51s no worse than a split of the six game series in Colorado with the finally scheduled for Thursday afternoon. It also trimmed their magic number to three as they wait for the results of the Fresno vs. Sacramento game currently being played. Vegas will finish the regular season with four home games against Tucson.
The tremendous run support took all the pressure off recently signed 51s starting pitcher Daryl Thompson, who was making his third appearance and first start with the ballclub. The 27-year-old Maryland native responded with six solid innings to get the win and, in the process, gave much needed rest for the taxed bullpen. What makes the performance so impressive is Thompson, who was an 8th round draft choice of the Expos in 2003, had only thrown 2.1 innings over the course of the last week with Vegas and wasn’t stretched out.
All nine players in the Vegas starting lineup had at least one hit, with five collecting multi-hit games. Even the pitcher, Thompson, had a great night at the plate, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and pair of runs scored. Of the 51s 16 total hits, seven were for extra bases (5 doubles/2 homers).
The Vegas homeruns both came in the monster 4th inning; a three-run shot for Jamie Hoffmann (8) and two-run blast from Kirk Nieuwenhuis (14). It was the second long ball for Nieuwenhuis in the last 10 games, a stretch which has seen him struggle to a .162 average. With Matt den Dekker promoted, Kirk is back to being the every day center fielder and his offensive production will be important during the playoff drive. Hoffmann drove in four runs and has 52 for the season.
Eric Campbell was 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI in Game 2 and 5-10 combined in the doubleheader. It’s been a nice season for Campbell who entered the day with a .303/.428/.466 slash line in 320 at-bats.
Jack Leathersich was asked to pitch the 7th inning in a blowout game and struggled yet again. The southpaw allowed the first four batters to reach and two runs to score on two singles, a walk and a double forcing Wally Backman to replace him with Tim Byrdak to finish the game. Not only is Leathersich not throwing strikes but now he’s getting pounded any time he puts the ball near the plate.
Notes: At the time this game story is being posted, Sacramento trails Fresno 3-2 in the 6th inning. If that score holds up, the 51s magic number will be down to two.