4-run ninth inning not enough in 7-5 loss to St. Paul
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Gary scored four times in the top of the ninth and even brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the frame, but came up short just short to St. Paul in the opening game of the series on Thursday night at CHS Field, as the 'Cats fell to the Saints, 7-5, in front of 8,309 in attendance. Despite Thursday's loss, Gary remains in front of St. Paul by one game for first place in the North Division and still lead Fargo-Moorhead by 1.5 games.
Down 7-1 entering the top of the ninth, Andy De Jesus and Cole Fabio led off the inning with back-to-back singles, giving Gary runners on the corners. Alex Crosby then made it 7-2 with an RBI groundout and advanced Fabio to second. Garrett Copeland then drew a walk before Randy Santiesteban ended his 0-for-18 slide with an RBI single to left, scoring Fabio. Colin Willis then reached for the fifth time after drawing his third walk, loading the bases for Ronnie Mitchell. Saints manager George Tsamis then brought in Andrew Thome in place of Mike Devine with the bases loaded. Mitchell trimmed the deficit to two with a two-run single to center. With the go-ahead run at the plate, Thome (3) retired Wilfredo Gimenez and Reggie Wilson to end the game with the save.
Eddie Medina (7-2) recorded his second win against Gary in his third start against the RailCats after striking out a season-high 10 over seven innings. The right-hander yielded one run on six hits and three walks. Keaton Steele (4-3) was tagged with his first loss as a starter after allowing a season-high seven runs (six earned) on five hits, three walks and three strikeouts in six innings.
St. Paul (43-34) took a 4-0 lead after bringing eight to the plate in the second. Brady Shoemaker led off the frame with an opposite-field solo homer, ending Steele's season-high 23.1 consecutive scoreless innings streak. Dante Bichette Jr. then singled to left before Nathaniel Maggio drew a walk. Justin O'Conner and Joey Wong followed with back-to-back RBI singles, increasing the Saints lead to three. With runners on first and second and one out, Max Murphy hit a one-hopper back to Steele, however, Gary wasn't able to turn the potential inning-ending double play after De Jesus' throw to first skipped past Copeland, allowing O'Conner to score the final run of the inning.
Gary (43-32) got on the board with a run in the fourth, trimming the St. Paul lead to three. Willis led off the inning with a single to center before moving up to second on a wild pitch. Mitchell then grounded out to second, moving Willis to third before Gimenez pulled an RBI single down the third base line, bringing Willis home for the RailCats first run.
The Saints increased their lead to 6-1 on Murphy's two-run homer to right-center in the fifth. Wong led off the inning with his second single before Murphy delivered the second of two homers on the night for St. Paul.
St. Paul added their final run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Murphy. Bichette Jr. drew a leadoff walk before Maggio pulled a single to right. Two batters later, Wong worked a walk and then Murphy delivered his third of three RBIs on the sacrifice fly.
Gary continues their four-game series against St. Paul on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. RailCats LHP Jeff McKenzie (4-8, 4.33) faces Saints LHP Chris Nunn (4-2, 3.06) in game two of the series.
Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard on Monday, August 13th for the start of a six-game, seven-day homestand. Monday's series opener vs. the back-to-back American Association Champion Winnipeg Goldeyes is at 7:10 p.m. and is another All You Can Eat Night and Metro PCS Monday. Fans can purchase their $10 All You Can Eat Wristband for hot dogs, peanuts and popcorn at the box office before and during Monday's game against the Goldeyes.
Jared Shlensky and Brennan Mense bring you all 100 RailCats game this season on WEFM (95.9 FM) and online at railcatsbaseball.com. Ticket packages for the 2018 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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