Explorers Rally Late But Fall Short in Opener
By Dan Vaughan, Jr., Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Sioux City Explorers (45-42) got off to a good start with a 1-0 lead and scored seven runs on the night, but the Milwaukee Milkmen (51-37) answered with four runs in the second inning and added another eight runs on the night to cruise to a 12-7 win in the series opener at Lewis and Clark Park.
Scott Ota would triple off Gregori Vasquez (10-1) and come home on a sacrifice fly from Matt Lloyd to take a 1-0 lead after one inning. Heitor Tokar (3-3), who retired Milwaukee in order in the top of the first, would see the Milkmen come right back in the second with a four spot. Miguel Gomez would single to start the inning. Drew Ward followed with a double to put runners at second and third. Tokar would strike out Michael Crouse then walk Rudy Martin Jr. to load the bases. Tokar once again got a big punch-out by sitting down Reggie Pruitt Jr. on strikes for out number two. The Milkmen would not waste the bases loaded chance, as Aaron Hill doubled to give Milwaukee a 2-1 lead. Tokar would walk Byran Torres then surrender a double to Roy Morales driving in a pair to make it 4-1.
Sioux City would pick up a second inning RBI double from Scott Ota that scored Chase Harris who had doubled with two outs, but that was as close as the Explorers would get the rest of the way. Milwaukee would score another three in the top of the fourth behind a Morales solo home run and a Gomez RBI double. Ward would hit a sac fly off Tokar to bring home another run and it was 7-2 Milwaukee.
In the top of the fifth Torres added an RBI single, while Gomez drove in two more with a double to extend the lead to 10-2 off Tokar. The right-hander gave up 10 earned runs on 13 hits in the loss. Morales would finish with five RBI picking up his final pair off lefty Franklin Dacosta on a two out bases clearing single with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth.
The X’s would fight on despite trailing 12-2. In the bottom of the sixth Wilfredo Gimenez hit a solo homer off Vasquez to get one run back. Vasquez would work 5.2 innings giving up three earned runs on eight hits to claim his tenth win of the season. In the eighth, Delvin Zinn, who began the year with the Milkmen, took Kyle Johnson deep with a two-run blast, to make it 12-5 in favor of the Milkmen. In the bottom of the ninth Daniel Perez hit a two-run home run off Johnson to give the X’s three long balls on the night in a 12-7 final.
The loss by Sioux City and a win by Sioux Falls over Winnipeg 6-5 dropped the Explorers and Canaries into a tie for second place in the American Association West Division. The X’s have dropped four of their last five after getting off to a 10-3 start in August and now are 11-7 in the season’s final full month.
The Explorers will play game two of the three-game series as part of the final six-game homestand of the season Wednesday night August 23 against the Milwaukee Milkmen at 7:05 p.m. Tickets for the season can be purchased online as XSBaseball.com, in person at the Lewis and Clark Park Box Office or by calling 712-277-WINS. You can catch all the X’s action on aabaseball.tv and on radio at KSCJ 94.9 FM and 1360 AM with the pregame beginning 30 minutes prior to first pitch.