In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier recaps an incredible night of baseball in the American Association, as there were just six games. Sioux Falls Canaries starter Cesilio Pimentel became the latest to flirt with a no-hitter, and the Explorers and T-Bones both extended winning streaks.
Cesilio Pimentel Carries No-Hitter into Seventh, Canaries Win, 1-0
The North Division continues to tighten as the Sioux Falls Canaries find themselves just five games out of first after downing the Gary Southshore RailCats, 1-0, on Friday night. Cesilio Pimentel earned his third win of the season, blanking Gary Southshore for eight innings and Jordan Dean drove in the game’s only run.
When you have a 1-0 game there is going to be some great pitching and Pimentel and RailCats starter Jeff McKenzie put on a clinic. The Sioux Falls starter allowed a two-out walk in the first, and then retired 16 in a row, talking a no-hit bid into the seventh.
McKenzie was also dominating early on. He retired the first six batters of the game, only seeing his first base runner reach when Mitch Glasser singled to start the third. Through four, he allowed just two singles.
However, in the fifth his first free pass of the contest would come back to haunt him. Maxx Garrett led off by drawing a walk and would move to second on a ground out. With Garrett at second and two down, Jordan Dean grounded a single that brought the run around to score, and the Canaries had the lead.
Sioux Falls looked to extend their lead in the sixth when Blake Schmit and Dave Bergin delivered back to back singles with one out. McKenzie struck out Chris Grayson before the team turned to Myles Smith. He gave up a base hit to Garrett into left field as Schmit came around looking to score. However, the throw from Reggie Wilson was perfect, nailing the runner at the plate to keep this a one run game.
The play seemed to bring some life to the RailCats as Andy DeJesus opened the seventh with the first hit of the game for Gary Southshore. Pimentel struck out Randy Santiesteban but Colin Willis followed with a base hit and suddenly the Canaries starter was in a bit of trouble. However, he induced D. K. Carey to ground into a double play to end the threat and keep Sioux Falls on top by a run.
The Sioux Falls Canaries starter would give up two more hits in the eighth, but struck out Wilson to end the threat. Pimentel (3-1) came out after eight innings allowing 4-hits and a walk, while striking out 7.
In the ninth, Kyle Schepel came on for Sioux Falls looking to close it out. He struck out DeJesus to start the frame but gave up a base hit to Santiesteban, putting the tying run at first. That brought Willis to the plate, who hit a grounder to third that turned into a double play to end the contest. For Schepel, it was his third save of the season.
Leobaldo Pina, Big Innings Send RedHawks to 9-1 Victory
A night after driving in five against the Winnipeg Goldeyes, Leobaldo Pina proved to be the catalyst once again, driving in three as the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks scored five in the third and four in the sixth on their way to a 9-1 victory. Winnipeg would score a run in the first, their only run of the contest, but the RedHawks came back with five in the third, led by a three run home run off the bat of Pina, his third home run of the season. In the sixth, Fargo-Moorhead added four more to solidify the victory. Sebastian Kessay (3-2) earned the victory, tossing seven outstanding innings, allowing 4-hits and run. The victory put the RedHawks a half-game out of first place in the North Division.
Zach Walters Drives in Three to Help Propel T-Bones to 6-2 Victory
The Kansas City T-Bones earned their fourth straight victory on Friday night, downing the Texas AirHogs, 6-2. This was a 1-0 game until the top of the seventh, when Kansas City would put five runs on the board. With the bases-loaded and two down, Zach Walters cleared the bases to give Kansas City a 4-0 lead. Walters scored on a Taylor Featherston single, and Featherston would come around to score on a passed ball. Texas added two runs in the bottom half of the inning, but it was far too little. Hunter Adkins tossed six shutout innings for the victory.
Rafael Palmeiro Homers Twice, Drives in 5 in Railroaders, 5-4 Victory
Rafael Palmeiro showed why he should be a Hall of Famer on Friday night, blasting two home runs and driving in five in the Cleburne Railroaders 5-4 victory over the Chicago Dogs. Cleburne jumped out on top in the second, when son Patrick walked to start the inning before father Rafael blasted his fourth home run of the season. With the game tied at two in the fourth, Levi Scott led off with a double and scored when Palmeiro hit his second homer of the game. In the seventh, he added an RBI single that proved to be critical. Michael Gunn tossed seven solid innings for his second victory of the season, but Chicago would battle back with two runs in the bottom of the ninth before Shawn Blackwell was finally able to close it out for his seventh save of the season.
Saltdogs Hold on for 7-6 Victory over Saints
The Lincoln Saltdogs twice took lead in their contest on Friday night before seeing the St. Paul Saints battle back to tie the score. However, the third time proved to be a charm as a Randolph Oduber hit a bases clearing double in the top of the eighth to give Lincoln a three run lead. However, the Saints would battle back with two runs in the bottom of the ninth and had the tying run 90 feet away, but a bang-bang play at first finally ended the contest as the Saltdogs were victorious, 7-6. Derek Gordon earned his fourth win of the season with 2.2 innings of outstanding relief. T.J. Bennett continues his red hot start since joining Lincoln, going 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI.
Explorers Extend Win Streak to 10, Downing Wingnuts, 4-2
The Sioux City Explorers extended their win streak to 10 on Friday night, thanks to four early runs and three outstanding innings of relief by Ryan Flores in the 4-2 victory over the Wichita Wingnuts. The Explorers scored single runs in the first and third and had a two run inning in the second to help propel them to victory. Luis Durango scored a run in the first and drove in another in the second. Jay Baum scored a run in the second and had an RBI in the third to help pace Sioux City. With the Explorers leading by two in the fourth, Ryan Flores came on and tossed three scoreless innings, allowing a lone hit while striking out 6.
By Robert Pannier