Printed on: July 26, 2013

Chukars' hopes still alive


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With nothing but zeroes and ones on the scoreboard through six innings, the Idaho Falls Chukars broke open a tight game Thursday night in Grand Junction.

Idaho Falls blew up the scoreboard with a seven-run seventh during a 9-4 win over the Rockies that kept their first-half playoff hopes alive.

Daniel Rockett dealt the biggest blow of the seventh inning for the Chukars, blasting a first-pitch fastball from relief pitcher Scott Firth over the left-field wall for a three-run homer.

The Chukars took advantage of five hits, two wild pitches and an error in the frame, flipping a 3-2 deficit into a decisive 9-3 advantage.

The Chukars were scoring every which way in the seventh, including on a wild-pitch strikeout by Cody Stubbs that scored Zane Evans from third and left Stubbs safely aboard at first.

The next six Idaho Falls batters went down in order over the eighth and ninth innings, but Chukars reliever Josiel Martinez also kept Grand Junction at bay, pitching the final 31/3 innings to earn his third win of the season.

In all, Idaho Falls pitchers Tyler Mack and Martinez pitched seven strong innings in relief of starter Cody Reed, allowing just one earned run against six strikeouts.

Idaho Falls also scored single runs in the second and sixth innings. Grand Junction was unable to put together any sort of sustained rally, scoring single runs in the second, third, fifth and eighth while stranding 11 baserunners.

The seven runs in the seventh inning were the second-most in a single inning for the Chukars this season, topped only by a 10-run sixth against Helena at home July 18.

The Chukars have won three in a row overall and six in a row away from Melaleuca Field.

The Chukars are now one game under .500 at 16-17, pulling to within four games of the Pioneer League South Division leading Rockies (20-13).

The Chukars are four games back with five games to play, and remain mathematically alive in pursuit of the league's first-half playoff spot.

Should they lose any of the four games on the Grand Junction road trip, the Chukars would be eliminated from the first-half playoff race.

The two teams lock horns again at 7:05 tonight in Grand Junction with righty Jake Junis (0-2, 7.66 ERA) scheduled to start for the Chukars. The Rockies have yet to name a starter.