In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier recaps an incredible night of baseball in the American Association, as all 12 teams were in action. In the Game of the Night, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks hung on for an 8-6 victory. The Cleburne Railroaders downed the Lincoln Saltdogs and the St. Paul Saints snapped their three game skid.
RedHawks Hang on for 8-6 Victory Over T-Bones
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks were looking to take the rubber match of their contest against the Kansas City T-Bones on Sunday afternoon. Thanks to eight runs through the first three frames of the game, the RedHawks were able to jump out to a commanding lead and then hung on for an 8-6 victory. That moved the record of Fargo-Moorhead to .500, putting them three games out in the North Division.
Kansas City would threaten in the top of the first, getting a hit by pitch and a single to put two runners on with one down. Zach Walters followed with a base hit into right field, but the throw to second caught Nick Torres too far off the bag, and Todd Cunningham was then thrown out at third to complete the unusual double-play.
That proved to be crucial, as the RedHawks would score four in the bottom of the first to take the lead. Back to back to back walks to Devan Ahart, Maikol Gonzalez, and Brennan Metzger loaded the bases with no one out. Keury De La Cruz then grounded into a double play that scored Ahart to put Fargo-Moorhead on top. The T-Bones were trailing, but there were two outs now. However, Leobaldo Pina kept the inning alive with a double, scoring Gonzalez to extend the lead to two. Tim Colwell would then drive home Pina with a base hit up the middle. He stole second and Medina would score when the throw from the catcher was wild. That made it 4-0.
Kansas City would come back with a run in the top of the second. With one down, catcher Adrian Nieto connected on his second home run of the season to cut the deficit to three.
Fargo-Moorhead came right back with two runs in the bottom of the second. Steve Zimmerman started the inning with a single and moved to third when Ahart reached on an error. Gonzalez singled home Zimmerman and, two batters later, Ahart scored on a single by De La Cruz. The RedHawks led 6-1.
In the top of the third, the T-Bones got back on the board. Keith Curcio singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. He would reach third when Dylan Tice singled into right field, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cunningham.
Once again, the RedHawks responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. A walk to Medina started the inning before Colwell singled into right field. Two batters later, both runners moved up on the double steal and Medina scored on a sacrifice fly. Colwell came home on a base hit off the bat of Ahart, making the score 8-2.
The T-Bones were kept off the board in the fourth, but they would cut the deficit to five in the fifth. Curcio advanced to first on a single with one out and reached second when Cunningham walked two batters later. Torres followed with a single up the middle, scoring Curcio to make it 8-3.
Will Solomon had weathered some early troubles, but retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh. He remained in the game for the RedHawks in the eighth, but quickly found himself in trouble. Cunningham started the inning with a double and scored when Walters lined a base hit into right field. That would be it for the Fargo-Moorhead starter. Solomon (3-3) went 7.1-innings, allowing 10-hits and 5-earned runs. He walked 2 and struck out 4.
Anthony Pacillo came on and hit Dexter Kjerstad before giving up a single to Nieto that loaded the bases. That brought another call to the bullpen as Andrew Woeck came on looking to stop the bleeding. He threw a wild pitch that brought in a run before giving up a ground out that scored the third run of the inning. That made it 8-6, but Kansas City would get no closer.
Randy McCurry came on with two outs and struck out Curcio to end the frame. In the ninth, he allowed two of the first three batters to reach base but got a ground out and a fly out to end the inning. That earned the Fargo-Moorhead closer his seventh save of the season.
Mitch Lambson Returns to Lead Winnipeg to Victory, 5-2
Mitch Lambson returned from Mexico, tossing six solid innings to help lead the Winnipeg Goldeyes to a 5-2 victory. Winnipeg took the lead in the top of the first when Eric Aguilera hit his first home run of the season. In the third, a Dave Sappelt double brought Andrew Sohn home to extend the lead to two. Winnipeg added three more runs in the fourth, thanks in part to a two run homer off of the bat of Josh Mazzola. Lambson did not allow a run through the first four innings, and would allow only one in 6-innings for his first victory of the season. Victor Capellan came on in the ninth and earned his 13th save of the season.
Bullpen Puts Railroaders on Fast Track to Victory, 6-3
The Cleburne Railroaders found themselves trailing 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth, but a three run frame tied the score as Cleburne scored six unanswered runs to down the Lincoln Saltdogs, 6-3. That allowed them to take two of three from their South Division rival. Trailing by three entering the bottom of the fourth, Angelo Gumbs plated the first run for the Railroaders with an RBI single. Blake Grant-Parks added a two-run single to tie the score. Cleburne would take the lead in the sixth when Cameron Monger hit his second homer of the year to give his team the lead. The Railroaders bullpen was spectacular, allowing just two runs in the final 6.1-innings of the game to enable the come back.
Luis Mateo Goes the Distance as Explorers Sweep RailCats, 8-1
There were some question marks entering the weekend related to the Sioux City Explorers starting pitchers. That clearly seems to have been answered, as Luis Mateo became the third straight Explorers starter to toss a gem of a performance, as Sioux City downed the Gary Southshore RailCats, 8-1. Mateo (4-2) went the distance, allowing 7-hits and a run in his first complete game of the season. Luis Durango and Nate Samson were both 3-5 with a run scored and Dexture McCall drove in three runs to help pace the Sioux City offense. The sweep of the RailCats moved the Explorers to an American Association leading 23-7 record.
Jake Smith Drives in 3 to Pace Saints, 7-1
The St. Paul Saints are starting to see the injury bug take its toll, but one of its newcomers helped to deliver a big victory, as Jake Smith drove in three in the Saints 7-1 win over the Chicago Dogs. John Straka returned to St. Paul and tossed 5 solid innings, allowing 4-hits, 4-walks, and an unearned run. Chicago scored their only run in the first, but St. Paul responded with two runs in the third on a two run single by Max Murphy. The Saints would plate four in the sixth, courtesy of an RBI double off the bat of Smith and a three run homer by Kes Carter, his fourth of the year. Smith would add another RBI in the seventh to seal the victory. St. Paul got four scoreless innings from their bullpen.
Seth Harvey Dominates in First Start, Wichita Wins, 3-1
Seth Harvey stepped out of the bullpen on Sunday afternoon, blanking the Texas AirHogs for five innings as the Wichita Wingnuts were victorious, 3-1. Harvey retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, not giving up his first hit until the fourth inning. Zach Nehrir provided the majority of the offense, hitting solo home runs in the first and third innings and the bullpen helped to preserve the lead as Daniel Tillman earned his seventh save of the season. With the victory, Harvey moved to 3-0 on the season. Hunter Clanin drove in the other run for Wichita, his sixth RBI in seven games.
American Association Daily Notes
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks added catcher Quinn Irey. Irey made his first appearance on Saturday night…The Gary Southshore RailCats signed RHP Brendan Jenkins. Jenkins made his first professional appearance on Saturday…The St. Paul Saints re-signed RHP John Straka and C Connor Olson. Straka was with the Saints in 2016 and 2017, combining to go 13-7 in 26 starts. He spent a large portion of 2017 in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, reaching AA-New Hampshire. Olson was in the lineup for the Saints on Saturday…The Texas AirHogs signed former Major Leaguer Carlos Contreras. The RHP had been with Texas last season, where he was 1-3 with a 5.08 ERA. He appeared in the Majors in two seasons (2014-15), both with the Cincinnati Reds…The Wichita Wingnuts activated RHP Mark Haynes. Haynes pitched for Sugar Land (Atlantic League) in 2017 where he was 2-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 55 appearances. The right-hander recorded 13 saves.
By Robert Pannier