Danny Gutierrez Smothers RailCats; Wingnuts Draw First Blood, 4-2
The Wichita Wingnuts and Gary Southshore RailCats began their best of five series Wednesday night as two of the hotter teams in the American Association. This had a playoff atmosphere from the start, as both Danny Gutierrez and Aryton Costa kept this a scoreless game through the first three frames, but a pair of two-run innings proved to be the difference, and Danny Gutierrez tossed seven shutout innings to lead Wichita to the 4-2 victory. The RailCats mounted a feverish rally late, but fell short when Ryan Kussmaul was finally able to close out the game.
After three scoreless innings, the Wichita Wingnuts would take the lead with two runs in the fourth. Martin Medina led off the inning with a base hit and moved to second when T.J. Mittelstaedt singled two batters later. Matt Chavez followed with a base hit that scored Medina from second and the Wingnuts had the lead. Richard Prigatano followed with a fielder’s choice that plated Mittelstaedt to make it 2-0.
It stayed that way until the seventh, when the Wingnuts moved their lead to four. Brennen Salgado started the inning with a base hit. After Jacob Morris struck out, Leo Vargas lined a base hit up the middle. Christian Stringer hit into a fielder’s choice that put runners at the corners, but there were two outs. Medina came to the plate and delivered a huge hit, lining a base hit into right field that skipped past the right fielder for an error. Both runners came around to score and it was 4-0.
Danny Gutierrez (1-0) was in complete command of this game from the start. The right-hander gave up a hit in the first and a leadoff single in the third. After that, Gutierrez was unhittable. He retired the next 15-batters he faced. Gutierrez came out after 7-innings. He gave up just two base runners, while striking out 7.
In the eighth, Mike Devine came on and the RailCats got on the board. Wilfredo Gimenez singled to start the inning and would move to second on a wild pitch. A wild pitch moved him to third before Andy DeJesus grounded out to score Gimenez to make it 4-1.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Gary Southshore RailCats looked to at least tie this score against Wichita closer Ryan Kussmaul. Alex Crosby led off the inning, and fouled off six pitches to stay alive before drawing a walk on the 11th pitch of the at-bat. Colin Willis walked to put two before Cameron Newell struck out. Next up was Frank Martinez, who drilled a ball down the line in left. That brought Crosby around to score and sent Willis to third. Gary was putting the pressure on, but Kussmaul struck Kris Goodman on three pitches for the second out of the inning. Gimenez then came to the plate and worked the count full, but the Wingnuts closer threw an outside slider that Gimenez waved at for the final out and the Wichita Wingnuts were the 4-2 winners.
Martin Medina led the Wichita offense, going 3-4 with a run and an RBI. Leo Vargas was also 3-4. Alex Crosby was 1-3 with a run scored and a walk for the RailCats.
Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday evening. Alex Boshers will go for Wichita looking to give his team a 2-0 lead. He will be opposed by Jeff McKenzie. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10.
Featured image courtesy of Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier