Samson, Explorers Draw First Blood, Down T-Bones, 8-6
In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier recaps an incredible night of baseball in the American Association, as five of the six games were decided by two-runs or fewer, including four one-run games. The game of the night was an exciting contest between the Sioux City Explorers and the Kansas City T-Bones, the top two teams in the South Division.
Explorers Draw First Blood in Kansas City, 8-6
The battle of the two best teams in the South Division got underway on Monday night, with the Sioux City Explorers defeating the Kansas City T-Bones, 8-6. Nate Samson led the Explorers with a homer and 3-RBI and four relievers combined to blank Kansas City over the final 4.2 innings. There were 23 combined hits between in the game.
The Sioux City Explorers jumped out in front in the top of the first when Nate Samson connected on his second home run of the season. Kansas City would tie the score in the bottom of the first. Todd Cunningham doubled with one out and scored on a single from Zach Walters.
In the second, the T-Bones would take the lead. Dexter Kjerstad singled with one out and scored when Keith Curcio connected on his third home run of the season to make it a 3-1 Kansas City lead.
The advantage did not last long, however, as Sioux City would tie the score in the top of the third. David Kerian got the inning started by drawing a walk and moved to third on a single by Luis Durango. Michael Lang followed with a single to score Kerian and Durango came home on a groundout by Samson tying the score at three.
The fifth inning proved to be a wild affair. Dylan Kelly started the inning with a single into left field, and Durango singled to left two batters later. A base hit by Lang loaded the bases for Samson, who lined a single into right field, scoring two runners. José Sermo then hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Lang to make it a 6-3 game.
The T-Bones came right back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth. Cunningham doubled to start the inning and Nick Torres followed with a single up the middle. With runners at first and third, Walters beat out a ground ball to second for a base hit, driving in Cunningham. Cal Towey then lined a ball down the line in right field, bringing both Torres and Walters home and the game was tied at six.
Justin Vernia started for Sioux City, but would be replaced by Ryan Flores (2-0) who retired the final two batters of the inning.
The game would stay tied until the top of the seventh when the Explorers would retake the lead. Durango singled to right with one out and scored when Lang doubled into the gap in left field, bringing Durango all the way around from first.
In the eighth, the Sioux City Explorers added an insurance run. Jay Baum was hit by a pitch to start the inning and moved to second on a groundout. He scored when Daniel Jackson grounded a single the other way, bringing Baum home to make it 8-6.
Flores tossed 2.2 innings of perfect relief for the victory. Peter Markel followed with a perfect inning in the eighth. Patrick Schuster recorded the first two outs in the ninth and Eric Karch struck out Torres to end the game for his third save of the season.
Nate Samson finished 2-4 with a run and 3-RBI for Sioux City. Luis Durango was 3-5 with three runs scored and Michael Lang finished 2-5 with a run and 2-RBI. For Kansas City, Todd Cunningham continues his torrid pace, going 3-5 with 2-runs scored. Cunningham raised his average to .471.
Alex Boshers Dominates Goldeyes in 2-1 Victory
Alex Boshers has struggled starting the 2018 American Association season, but there was no problem for the right-hander on Monday night, as he allowed 5-hits a single run in 7.2 innings as the Winnipeg Goldeyes downed the Gary Southshore RailCats 2-1. Winnipeg took the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Reynaldo Rodriguez hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot. In the seventh, the lead became two on an RBI single off the bat of Matt McCann. Boshers had stymied Gary Southshore through the first seven innings, allowing four hits, but the RailCats would finally get a run on an RBI double off the bat of Reggie Wilson in the eighth. Jack Charleston recorded the final out of the inning and Victor Capellan came on in the ninth, retiring the side in order for his 11th save of the season. The victory was the first of the year for Boshers (1-3).
Error in Ninth Gives Canaries Walk-Off Victory, 6-5
The Sioux Falls Canaries twice had to battle back on their way to a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Dogs on Monday night. Chicago led 4-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth when Sioux Falls would tie the score. A wild pitch brought in the first run before Burt Reynolds doubled to drive home the second. A two run single by Maxx Garrett tied the game at four. The Dogs retook the lead in the eighth but the Canaries would rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. Tyson Perez came on looking to close it out and was greeted by a Jordan Smith double before Reynolds walked. Blake Schmit attempted to move both runners over with a sacrifice, but the throw by Perez was wild, allowing both runners to come around to score with the 6-5 walk-off victory. The red-hot Garrett finished 2-4 with 2-RBI. The loss ruined an exceptional night for both Edwin Arroyo (3-5, HR (1), 2-R, and RBI) and Dalton Blaser (5-4, R).
Curt Smith Has the Perfect Night in Saltdogs 4-3 Victory
It was a great night for Lincoln Saltdogs DH Curt Smith, a perfect night one could say, as Smith went 5-5 with a run and 3-RBI in the 4-3 victory over the Texas AirHogs. Texas took the lead in the bottom of the second on back-to-back homeruns by Correlle Prime and Dillon Thomas. It was 3-1 AirHogs in the fifth, when Smith blasted a 2-run homer to tie the score, his sixth of the season. A wild pitch scored Angel Reyes in the seventh to give Lincoln the lead, and José José closed out the contest for his second save of the season. Reyes was 2-4 with 2-runs scored for the Saltdogs. Three players on the AirHogs had 2-hits in the game, including Lu Yhenhong, Song Yunqi, and Chen Chen.
Charlie Gillies Blanks Railroaders in His Debut, 6-1
The Wichita Wingnuts signed Charlie Gillies earlier in the day, and he delivered a stellar 6-innings of work that night as the Wingnuts were victorious over the Cleburne Railroaders, 6-1. Gillies tossed six shutout innings, allowing 4-hits while striking out 3. Wichita took the lead in the top of the second courtesy of a five run frame. That came thanks to seven walks and three wild pitches. The big blow of the inning was a two run single off of the bat of Logan Watkins. In the inning, 11 batters came to the plate with Watkins having the only hit. In fact, he and Leo Vargas each had 2-hits as Cleburne held Wichita to four total hits in the game but walked 11.
Keury De La Cruz Leads RedHawks to 5-4 Victory
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks opened their series against the St. Paul Saints with a much-needed 5-4 victory, denying Manager George Tsamis his 1000th victory for a night. The RedHawks would take the lead in the top of the third on a two run single by Devan Ahart and a run-scoring single by De La Cruz. In the fourth, former Saint Tim Colwell drove in Tommy Mendonca to extend the lead to four, but St. Paul would get three of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth inning on a three run homer by Jayce Boyd, his first of the season. Each team would score an additional run, but Randy McCurry closed the door in the ninth in the one run victory. De La Cruz finished 2-4 with a run, homer and 2-RBI for Fargo-Moorhead.
By Robert Pannier