Season-High 15 Left on Base Too Much to Overcome in 7-4 Loss to Texas
Gary, Ind. - A three-run lead after four innings and a season-high-tying eight walks drawn by the Gary offense wasn't enough on Youth and Senior Day, presented by AARP, on Tuesday afternoon at U.S. Steel Yard as the RailCats fell to the Texas AirHogs, 7-4, for the second straight day with 3,798 in attendance. The 'Cats had a baserunner reach in every inning except one, however, stranded a season-high 15 baserunners. Gary has now lost six of their last seven games, five of their last six series and drop below .500 for the first time since May 27th after Tuesday's defeat.
After leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the first and second, Gary (24-25) took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Will Savage got the 'Cats on the board with a sacrifice fly to center before Andy De Jesus doubled the Gary lead with a two-out RBI single to center.
Andy Paz increased the RailCats lead to three with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth. Colin Willis doubled to right-center to begin the frame before Tillman Pugh moved Willis up to third with a deep lineout to center. Paz then followed with a sacrifice fly to right-center, scoring Willis from third.
Texas (14-34) ended Jeff McKenzie's perfect game bid and shutout with a run in the top of the fifth, cutting the Gary lead to 3-1. Dillon Thomas recorded the AirHogs first hit with a leadoff double off the base of the right field wall. Chen Junpeng then advanced Thomas to third with a single to shallow center before Du Xiaolei bounced into a 6-3 double play, bringing home Thomas from third.
The AirHogs took their first lead of the afternoon with four runs on six hits in the top of the sixth. Luo Jinjun began the inning with a leadoff single to right before Yawn Jun brought Jinjun around to score all the way from first with an RBI double to right. Song Yunqi followed with an infield single before Stewart Ijames tied the game with an RBI fielder's choice. Two batters later, Thomas gave Texas their first lead with an RBI groundout to De Jesus at shortstop before Xiaolei made it 5-3 with a two-out RBI infield single.
The RailCats countered with a run in the bottom of the sixth, reducing the AirHogs lead to one on D.K. Carey's two-out RBI single. Carey reached base in all five of his plate appearances and finished the day 2-for-2 with three runs, three walks and an RBI in his first start of the series.
Thomas delivered the final runs of the game with a two-run home run on to the right field concourse in the eighth. The homer was Thomas's team-high eighth of the year and his league-high 34th extra-base hit.
Former Colorado Rockies pitcher Tyler Matzek (2-5) recorded the win after allowing three runs on eight hits, four walks and four strikeouts in five innings while Carlos Contreras (5) secured his second save in as many games after retiring three of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth. Jeff McKenzie (2-6) was charged with his sixth straight loss after allowing five runs on eight hits, no walks and a strikeout in seven innings.
Gary concludes their three-game homestand vs. Texas on Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. The RailCats have yet to announce their starter for the series finale while the AirHogs send RHP Gan Quan (0-5, 4.05) to the mound.
Wednesday's game is and is another "Office Wednesday", Pretzel Night, NorthShore Health Centers Wednesday and Wine Wednesday. Fans can sign up for the "Office Wednesdays" Jersey Auction during the game and can also purchase $2.50 Bavarian Pretzels and $4 Barefoot Wine and Barefoot Refresh Spritzers.
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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