Kullman Dominant as Dogs Close Series with Victory
By Michael Barthelemy, Chicago Dogs
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – It was a tough weekend in Kansas City, but the Dogs came away with the series finale over the Monarchs, 4-1.
It may not have been the prettiest, but right-handed starter A.J. Kullman threw five scoreless innings in his second Dogs start through getting out of numerous jams. The Monarchs left six runners on base against Kullman, who recovers after a tough debut start where he allowed five runs in three innings.
Offensively, Dogs left fielder Charlie Tilson led the way. The leadoff man went 2-for-4 with a triple, walk and a run. In his last five games, Tilson is 9-for-20 with seven runs scored.
This game got started out with a bang. On a 3-2 count, Tilson lined a ball into right center field and used his plus speed to sprint into third base for a triple. With Tilson 90 feet from home, designated hitter Michael Crouse brought him in with a sacrifice fly to put the Dogs up 1-0.
Kansas City starter Jon Harris had trouble finding the zone early. The righty threw nine straight balls to walk K.C. Hobson and Grant Kay, but eventually rung up Ryan Lidge looking to get out of the frame.
In the bottom of the second inning, Kansas City was threatening with the bases loaded and one out. Leadoff hitter Willie Abreu stepped up to the plate and attacked Kullman’s opening delivery. Quickly, third baseman Cosimo Cannella fired the ball to second, and the second baseman Kay completed the double play with his throw to first base. The Dogs got out unscathed to keep the score 1-0.
While the Monarchs struggled to break open their offense, the Dogs had trouble with building upon their lead. Chicago was first to score in all three games of this series, but were unable to hold onto the lead in the first two bouts. Harris finished with five innings pitched with the one run allowed and five strikeouts.
This would all change in the sixth, when Kansas City manager Joe Calfapietra went to his bullpen and brought in righty Brock Gilliam to face the bottom of the order. Lidge led things off with a single, and made his way to third courtesy of a Grier walk and a wild pitch. Cannella eventually drove the catcher in with a sacrifice fly to left field, which doubled the Dogs lead.
Harrison Smith next came to the plate and also hit a ball to left field. This time, left fielder Joel Booker had trouble with the exchange and his error brought Smith to second base. With the chaos on the field, Grier found his way home. Two batters later Crouse stepped up with another RBI opportunity. The Canadian once again made the most of the chance and singled to bring home Smith. At the end of the sixth, the Dogs extended their lead to a comfortable 4-0.
Right-handed pitcher Ryan Clark relieved Kullman of his duties in the bottom half of the inning, and gave the Dogs two innings of scoreless work and three strikeouts. Those two frames brought Clark’s shutout streak to 7.2 innings.
Dogs manager Butch Hobson looked to closer Jeff Kinley for the final six outs of the game, but Kansas City would not go quiet into the dusk. Monarchs right fielder Jan Hernandez reached base on an error, and a pair of singles brought the bases loaded and former St. Louis Cardinal Pete Kozma to the dish. The shortstop capped off his 2-for-3 day with a RBI single that brought home Hernandez and made the score 4-1.
Kinley did not entertain the comeback any longer and concluded the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to win 4-1, final. This was the Dogs’ first win in Kansas City since June, 2019 and snaps a three game losing streak. Chicago has the day off on Monday and continue the roadtrip in Cleburne, Texas, where they will start a six-game series with the Railroaders.