Palm Outduels Fox in Dogs Opening Victory
By Sam Brief, Chicago Dogs
The Chicago Dogs defeated the Kane County Cougars 2-1 in a classic pitching duel at Impact Field Monday night. The win pushes the Dogs to 24-23 this season, and in sole possession of third place in the American Association’s eastern division.
The story of the night was pitching for both teams.
Starters Tyler Palm and Jack Fox faced off for the second time this season. Last time around, the Cougars took home a 2-1 victory at Northwestern Medicine Field on June 22.
Palm tossed six efficient innings of one-run ball against the Cougars Monday night. The key to Palm’s success: commanding the strike zone. He threw five strikeouts and walked zero batters. It was Palm’s first start with zero walks this season.
The Cougars tallied their sole run against Palm in the fifth inning. Jimmy Kerrigan smoked his fifth home run of the season to left-center field to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, recently-acquired Cougar Olivier Basabe smoked a line drive that hit Palm in the back of the left leg. Palm was checked on by athletic trainer R.J Anaya and pitching coach Stu Cliburn, yet remained in the game.
Palm then retired the next six batters he faced, including striking out the side in the sixth inning. Tyler was removed from the game following the sixth after throwing 68 pitches.
Fox lasted six innings for Kane County and surrendered eight hits and both of the Dogs’ runs.
The Dogs’ offense began to click the third time around the order. Cody Bohanek led off the fifth inning by getting hit by a pitch, and Jesus Lujano quickly brought him in on a triple to right-center field. The American Association’s batter of the Month for June, Matt Bottcher, brought Lujano in on a sacrifice fly, which was the game-winning run.
Both Ryan Lidge and Josh Altmann reached in the inning but didn’t score.
The Dogs’ bullpen was lights out following Palm’s early exit.
Joe Cavallaro was the first out of the bullpen and struck out five Kane County hitters over two perfect innings. All of his pitches were commanding, but his reliable slider was the X-factor on Monday.
Dogs’ closer Brian Schlitter closed out his eighth victory of the season for the Dogs. He got the first two hitters out, then surrendered two hits, which put runners on first and second base. Schlitter got Jimmy Kerrigan to ground out to Altmann to seal the game.
15 of the final 17 Cougars were retired following Palm getting smoked by Basabe’s line drive.
The Dogs play game two of the three-game set against the Cougars Tuesday night at Impact Field. Fireworks for the Fourth of July following the 6:30 p.m. game.