The Kansas City T-Bones found themselves trailing twice on Friday night, but both times responded right away, and would eventually take the lead in their 5-2 victory over the Sioux City Explorers. Ryan Brett had a huge night, recording three hits and scoring two runs, and Noah Perio, Jr. scored two runs as well to help lead the offense. The Kansas City bullpen also had a huge night, tossing 4.1 innings of shutout relief to help give the T-Bones a 2-1 series lead.
After a scoreless first-inning, the Sioux City Explorers would take the lead in the bottom of the second against Kansas City starter Hunter Adkins. With one down, Dean Green walked and Jay Baum followed with a fielder’s choice that put him at first base. Baum then stole second and scored on a base hit by Blake Schmit to put the Explorers up 1-0.
That lead held for just one half of an inning, as the Kansas City T-Bones would tie the score in the top of the third. With one down, Ryan Brett hit his first home run of the postseason, tying the score at one run a piece.
Adkins had been extremely tough after giving up the second inning run, but he lost control in the fifth and that would give Sioux City the opportunity to retake the lead. Luis Durango got it started with one out single. He moved to second when Nate Samson drew a walk. Jose Sermo then drew a walk to load the bases for Green, who drew a bases-loaded walk, driving in Durango to put the Explorers back on top, 2-1.
That would be it for the Kansas City starter. Joe Filomeno came on and struck out Baum to end the threat.
As they had done the prior time that Sioux City had taken lead, Kansas City responded right away with a run in the top of the sixth. Noah Perio, Jr. drew a walk to get the inning started. Explorers starter Justin Vernia retired the next two batters, but Alay Lago kept the inning alive with a base hit.
That would be it for Vernia. Patrick Schuster came on, walking Danny Hayes to load the bases. Parker Markel took over and threw a wild pitch, allowing Perio to score to tie the game at two.
An inning later, the T-Bones would take their first lead of the game. Brett led off the inning with a base hit and moved to second when Mason Davis followed with a single. Todd Cunningham then attempted to lay down a bunt, but an error allowed both runners to move up and for Cunningham to reach base. With the bases-loaded the no one out, Perio drew a walk, driving in Brett. A walk to Adrian Nieto brought home Davis and Kansas City had a two run lead.
The Explorers were looking like they were about to get blown out, but they turned to Ryan Flores, who pitched out of a jam by retiring the next three batters without Kansas City being able to add a run. However, the T-Bones led 4-2.
Marcus Crescentini came on in the bottom of the seventh and walked two batters, but he struck out the side to stop any threat and preserve the two run lead. Nick Lee took over in the eighth and tossed a perfect frame to keep his team on top by two.
In the top of the ninth, the Kansas City T-Bones would extend their lead. Perio reached on an error with one down and moved to second on a ground out. With two down and a runner at second, Keith Curcio was intentionally walked. That brought Alay Lago to the plate, who singled up the middle, driving home Perio to give Kansas City a 5-2 lead.
Cody Winiarski came on in the ninth, and the Explorers put together a rally. Durango led off with a single but was replaced on a fielder’s choice by Michael Lang. Samson then grounded a ball up the middle, moving Lang to second and bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Sermo. The closer got Sermo to fly out bringing Green to the plate who had singled and walked three times to that point. Winiarski struck out Green on four pitches to close out the game, 5-2.
Joe Filomeno (1-0) earned the victory with 1.1 innings of relief. Ryan Brett finished 3-4 with 2-runs and an RBI to lead the Kansas City offense. Noah Perio, Jr. had 2-runs scored and an RBI despite not having hit the game. The Sioux City offense was led by Luis Durango, who was 2-5 with a run scored.
With the Kansas City T-Bones now leading 2-1, the Explorers look to even the series on Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier