Jones Homers Twice to Lead RailCats Power Surge, 11-7
ST. PAUL, MINN. — A season-high four home runs, including two from Ray Jones, was just enough for Gary in the series finale on Sunday night at CHS Field against St. Paul as the ‘Cats topped the Saints, 11-7. Jones’ multi-home run game is the fourth by a RailCat this season and helped snapped Gary’s five-game losing streak.
Tied 7-7 entering the ninth, Gary (32-47) took the lead good with a four-run frame. John Price Jr. recorded the last of his three hits with a one-out single to center before Randy Santiesteban walked on four pitches. RailCats All-Star Colin Willis then put the ‘Cats in front for good with an RBI single to right-center before Jones increased the RailCats lead to four with a three-run home run to right. The multi-home run game from Jones was the first of his career and the last of a season-high 15 hits by the RailCats.
Ryan Thurston (4-0) worked a perfect bottom of the ninth to secure the victory. The left-hander went two innings out of the bullpen, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out three.
Gary jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a two-out, three-run opposite field home run from Alex Crosby in the second. Andy De Jesus reached on a two-out infield single before Marcus Mooney went the other way with a single down the right field line. Crosby then made it 3-0 with his fifth homer into the St. Paul bullpen.
Price Jr. increased the RailCats lead to 4-0 with a solo shot over the left field foul pole on the first pitch of the third inning. Price Jr.’s home run was his third of the year and the RailCats second of the night.
The ‘Cats took their biggest lead at six with two more runs in the top of the fourth. De Jesus doubled down the third base line to begin the inning before Crosby floated a single into left, giving Gary runners on the corners. MJ Rookard followed Crosby with an RBI fielder’s choice before stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error by Saints catcher Mike Aiello. Price Jr. followed Rookard with a two-out RBI single to center for the final run of the frame.
St. Paul (47-32) got on the board with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Michael Lang walked on five pitches to begin the frame before coming around to score on an RBI double from John Silviano. Two batters later, Chesny Young plated Silviano with a two-out RBI double into the left field corner for the final run of the inning.
Jones gave Gary a run for the fourth straight inning with a two-out solo home run to right in the top of the fifth. Jones’ home run was his first as a RailCat and the third of the game.
The Saints trimmed the Gary lead to three with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Back-to-back singles from Blake Schmit and Aiello gave the Saints runners on first and second to begin the frame. Dan Motl then grounded into a double play before Michael Lang brought home Schmit from third with an RBI double into the right field corner. Brady Shoemaker delivered the final run of the inning with an RBI single through the left side of the infield.
Lang made it a 7-5 game with a solo home run over the Gary bullpen in the seventh. Lang’s homer was his second of the series and his eighth of the year.
St. Paul evened the game with their final two runs in the eighth. Jabari Henry, who signed with the Saints before the game, recorded a pinch-hit single with one out before moving up to third on a single from Schmit. Jeremy Martinez pinch-hit for Aiello and walked before Motl delivered the game-tying runs with a two-run single to center.
Tanner Kiest (1-2) was tagged with the loss in his second appearance of the series. The right-hander and former Milwaukee Milkmen right-hander allowed four runs on three hits and a walk in the top of the ninth.
Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard on Monday for the start of a six-game homestand. Monday’s game vs. the Texas AirHogs is at 7:10 p.m. and is another Metro Monday and Meaty Monday.
Hamburgers cost just $2.00 and complimentary tickets to any remaining Monday game are available at participating Northwest Indiana Metro by T-Mobile locations. RailCats’ left-hander Trevor Lubking (5-9, 4.42) makes his league-high 20 starts against AirHogs’ right-hander Gan Quan (1-6, 5.80) in the opening game of the series.
Ticket packages for the 2019 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
By Jared Shlensky