For the second night in a row, the elements wreaked havoc on the Idaho Falls Chukars homestand against the Grand Junction Rockies.
Tuesday’s game that was suspended after two innings and a 2-0 Rockies lead resumed Wednesday with more rain. The first cloudburst occurred in the fourth inning and a rain delay in the seventh inning eventually led to the game being called final, 7-3 in favor of Grand Junction.
With the loss, the Chukars (31-29, 11-11) fall to four games behind the Pioneer League South Division leading Rockies (38-22, 15-7). The next three games between the two teams will be their final meetings of the season.
The Chukars and Rockies will play a doubleheader today with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m. The series ends Friday night.
“It’s unbelievable,” Idaho Falls manager Omar Ramirez said. “My first three years here, it rained twice maybe. It’s crazy. Not only here, but everywhere we go.”
Wes Rogers, whose solo home run gave the Rockies their first run in the first inning Tuesday, scored off Luis Castro’s single to right field on a full count to extend Grand Junction’s lead to 3-0 in the top of the third.
Corey Toups provided a spark for the Chukars with a standup triple in the bottom of the third. He scored on Ryan O’Hearn’s single in the next at-bat. Robert Pehl was next in the batter’s box, giving Idaho Falls its third consecutive hit with a single to center. Brandon Thomasson brought O’Hearn and Pehl home with a two-out double to tie the game 3-3 later in the rain-soaked inning.
The clouds broke before the fifth inning, prompting the timely playing of “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles through the Melaleuca speakers. The Rockies made their move soon after, breaking the tie with a one-out, bases-loaded double by Kevin Padlo to score Max George, Luis Castro and Dom Nunez and give Grand Junction a 6-3 lead in the top of the fifth.
“We couldn’t hold them,” Ramirez said.
Nunez’s one-out double to center brought home Rogers in the top of the seventh moments before the next batch of rain and hail arrived to prompt the 58-minute rain delay. Ramirez said he and the other Chukars coaches were planning for anything during the second rain delay in two days.
“We were trying to figure out who was gonna pitch if the game was gonna continue,” Ramirez said. “When we were coming off the field, it was looking pretty bad. Our approach is one game at a time. Hopefully, we can play tomorrow and at least play one game.”
Toups and Brandon Downes each had two hits for the Chukars. Toups went 2 for 3 with a triple and Downes was 2 for 3 with a double.
Eric Stout, who took the mound in the top of the third, took the loss for the Chukars. The lefthander gave up three runs on three hits while walking one and striking out one in 1.2 innings. Javier Palacios earned the win for Grand Junction, improving to 5-4 on the season. The righthander gave up three runs on six hits while striking out four and walking none in four innings.