Late runs lift Rockies past Chukars

Gretel Daugherty / Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Idaho Falls shortstop Jecksson Flores tries to tag Grand Junction’s Randy Reyes on his way down after fielding a high throw during the second inning of Wednesday’s game in Grand Junction, Colo. Reyes was safe on the play.

At Grand Junction, Colo., Tuesday night’s 16-inning, five-and-a-half-hour marathon and a 500-mile bus ride to Grand Junction, Colo., proved too much for the Idaho Falls Chukars to overcome on Wednesday night.

Grand Junction broke open a one-run game with four late runs and beat the weary Chukars 7-2 in front of 1,820 fans at Suplizio Field.

Idaho Falls scored single runs in the second and fifth innings while Grand Junction had single runs in the second, third and fifth. The Rockies scored twice in the seventh without a ball leaving the infield, then got a two-run home run from Luis Jean in the eighth.

That was more than enough for a trio of Rockies pitchers.

Carlos Polanco worked seven full innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits while walking two and striking out four. Craig Schlitter loaded the bases in the eighth but worked out of the jam, and Alec Crawford struck out two in a scoreless ninth to close it out.

The Chukars wasted a strong starter from Zach Lovvorn. The right-hander from Oxford, Ala., allowed three runs, one earned on five hits and two walks while striking out three in six innings. Lovvorn took the loss and fell to 2-3.

Idaho Falls managed eight hits, led by a 2-for-2 night from catcher Pedro Gonzalez, who left the game with an injury after hitting a double and scoring in the fifth. Gonzalez also figured in the Chukars’ other run in the second. Brandon Thomasson tripled with one out and scored on Gonzalez’s RBI single to left.

Idaho Falls other hits were all singles, and Chukars batters also struck out eight times.

The bottom of the order did the damage for Grand Junction. Seventh-place hitter Wesley Jones was 2 for 4 with two runs scored while eighth-place hitter Jean went 3 for 4 with a triple, a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs.

The Rockies (25-17, 2-2) and Chukars (21-21, 1-3) play the second game of their four-game series at 7:05 tonight.