Bats Go Quiet as Beavers Fall to Sky Sox
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Mike Paulk went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Matt Miller threw out Aaron Cunningham at the plate in the ninth inning as the Colorado Springs Sky Sox held on to beat the Portland Beavers 3-2 at Security Service Field on Sunday afternoon.
Jay Payton reached base four times with two hits and two walks, while also scoring twice for the Sky Sox (22-27).
Josh Barfield finished with two hits for the Beavers (19,31) to continue his hot start to the four-game road trip in which he is 9-for-13 through three games.
Sky Sox starter Kurt Birkins (2-3) gave up two runs on four hits and struck out six in five innings for his second win of the season.
Matt Buschmann (0,3) pitched 4 1/3 innings in his third start for the Beavers, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks.
The Beavers struck first with RBI hits by Sean Kazmar and Craig Cooper in the top of the third inning to build a 2-0 lead. Kazmar hit a RBI double to right field, scoring Buschmann, who was running on the pitch, from first base. Cooper then stepped to the plate and drove in Kazmar with a two-out single to center.
The Sky Sox responded with two singles and a walk to load the bases in the bottom of the third inning. Payton proceeded to score from third base on a wild pitch by Buschmann to cut the deficit to one run, at 2-1.
Paulk hit a ground-ball single up the middle to score Payton and Miller, as the Sky Sox jumped ahead 3-2 in the fifth inning.
The Beavers threatened in the ninth inning when Barfield hit a line-drive single to Miller in right field, who threw out Cunningham at the plate. Cunningham, who led off the inning with a walk, was on second base when Barfield came through with the hit. Barfield reached second on the throw home but was unable to score the tying run as Craig Stansberry grounded out to second base to end the game.
Sky Sox reliever Franklin Morales pitched three nearly perfect innings, striking out five and giving up only the one hit to Cunningham in which he was thrown out attempting to stretch a double into a triple.
Juan Rincon gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth but was able to secure his seventh save of the season for Colorado Springs.
The Beavers and Sky Sox meet again Monday at 12:05 p.m. (Pacific) in the finale of their four-game set at Security Service Field.
NOTES: The San Diego Padres today recalled catcher Dusty Ryan from Portland ... catcher Ali Solis joined the Beavers today from Class A Lake Elsinore ... Barfield, who was activated from the disabled list on May 24, had his third multiple-hit game in a row.
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