ROUND ROCK – The Colorado Springs Sky Sox got a huge lift from MLB rehabbers RF Carlos Gonzalez and LHP Brett Anderson Monday night to down the Round Rock Express 6-4 at Dell Diamond.
Gonzalez, the Colorado Rockies’ perennial superstar outfielder, finished 2-3 with a double, a homer and three RBI in his first rehab appearance since having a tumor surgically removed from his left index finger last month.
Anderson (1-0, 0.96 ERA), who was acquired by the Rockies in the offseason, allowed just one run on six hits over 5.2 innings in his second rehab game with the Sky Sox (41-50). The left-hander, who is recovering from a broken index finger, stuck out four and walked one to pick up the win.
The Express (45-44) strung together three two-out singles in the third to pull ahead of the Sky Sox 1-0. LF Ryan Strausborger reached on an infield single to extend the inning and advanced to third on a base hit by RF Engel Beltre. 1B J.P. Arencibia then served a RBI single into center field to put Round Rock on top.
Colorado Springs responded with three singles to lead off the fourth and knot the game at 1-1. DH Ben Paulsen and 1B Kyle Parker each singled to begin the inning ahead of 3B Ryan Wheeler, who lined a game-tying base hit to left. The Sky Sox seemed poised to add more in the frame, but Express starter RHP Justin Germano (3-8, 4.19 ERA) was able to wriggle out of the two on, no out jam.
Germano was not so fortunate in the fifth as Colorado Springs went yard twice to take a commanding 5-1 lead. With runners on first and second and no outs, Gonzalez smoked a line drive, three-run home run over the center field wall to give his club the lead. Paulsen then followed Cargo’s blast with one of his own to stretch the advantage out to four.
Round Rock cut their deficit in half with solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings. With two outs in the sixth, 3B Ryan Rua clubbed a mammoth shot onto the concourse in left-center for his third Triple-A homer of the season. 2B Brent Lillibridge then led off the seventh with a towering drive into the Express bullpen, his seventh of the year, to pull the home team to within two at 5-3.
After the Express failed to convert with runners in scoring position and no outs in the eighth, the Sky Sox added an insurance run in the ninth to make it 6-3. SS Rafael Ynoa doubled to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on an RBI single by CF Jason Pridie.
Down to their final three outs, the E-Train rallied for a run in the home half and managed to load the bases, but once again failed to convert on the excellent scoring opportunity. Lillibridge led off the inning with a walk and SS Josh Wilson singled. LF Bryan Petersen, who entered in the seventh, then delivered a RBI single to right to bring the score to 6-4. With the bases loaded and no outs, LHP Christian Friedrich got Arencibia to pop up, struck out CF Jared Hoying and retired DH Geovany Soto on a fly out to end the game and notch his first save of the season.
Germano suffered the loss after allowing five runs over six innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Lillibridge went 1-2 with the home run, two walks and two runs scored to pace Round Rock at the plate. Meanwhile Strausborger, Beltre, Arencibia and Hoying each added two hits apiece.
The Express and Sky Sox will be back at it Tuesday night as they play game two of their four-game series at Dell Diamond. Round Rock LHP Ryan Feierabend (7-5, 4.54 ERA) is slated to make his PCL-leading 19th start of the season against Colorado Springs RHP Brett Tomko (6-3, 3.74 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Bring out more friends and family to take advantage of half-price tickets, presented by A+ Federal Credit Union. For more information on the Express, visit http://www.RoundRockExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook and Twitter!