Big Innings Hurt Birds in Series-Ending Loss to Sioux City
The first I-29 rivalry series of the year ended in a sweep on Thursday night, as the Sioux City Explorers scored five in the first and four in the ninth to beat the Sioux Falls Canaries 10-4.
The big innings made the difference for the Explorers, who jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Canaries had a chance to bat in the first inning. Nate Samson, Jay Baum, Dexter McCall and David Kerian all drove in runs in the outburst.
The Canaries responded in the bottom of the inning, when Chris Grayson hit his team-leading third home run of the year to left field. The hit was originally ruled to have stayed in the ballpark, but the umpires quickly convened and changed the call to a home run.
Grayson finished the day 1-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and two RBI, bringing his season RBI total to four.
Blake Schmit also had a strong game for the Birds, going 3-for-4 with RBI singles in the fourth and sixth innings.
Canaries starter Joe Bircher settled down after the rough first inning, throwing five innings. He gave up six runs (four earned) on seven hits, walking one, hitting a batter and striking out four.
Sioux City led 6-4 heading into the ninth, and Birds manager Mike Meyer called on closer James Jones to keep the lead at two.
Jones struggled with his command in the appearance, throwing two wild pitches and surrendering three runs before being lifted for Trevor Jaunich. Jones would be charged with four runs allowed in the inning after Jaunich allowed an inherited runner to score.
Sioux City's bullpen was outstanding on Thursday. Tyler Fallwell, Parker Markel, Patrick Schuster and Ryan Flores combined to throw the final 3.1 innings without giving up a hit. A walk by Markel in the eighth was the only blemish on their scorecard.
The Canaries now hit the road, heading to their first away game of the year against the Winnipeg Goldeyes from Manitoba, Canada. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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