Sioux City, Iowa – The T-Bones exploded Wednesday night to score 12 runs, winning 12-8 in the opening game of the best-of-five series for the South Division Champion of the American Association.
The T-Bones rode a seven-run third inning and a 16-hit attack to their win in the opening game Wednesday night at Lewis and Clark Park in Sioux City.
Pitchers Dylan Baker of the T-Bones and Carlos Sierra of Sioux City on last Friday engaged in a pitcher’s duel with only one run scored, but Wednesday night was different.
Baker got out of a jam with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, but Sioux City came back to score in the second.
Sebastian Zawada hit an RBI double to give Sioux City their only lead., but that lead was short lived.
Facing Carlos Sierra (0-1), the T-Bones put up one of their best innings of the season in the top of the third.
Ramsey Romano singled, followed by Austin Biggar, who worked a four-pitch walk. The Explorers were looking for a bunt from Dylan Tice, who instead hit the first pitch he saw down the right field line, missing a home run by a couple of feet. That tied the game at one.
Danny Mars gave KC the lead with a sacrifice fly to left, then Stewart Ijames drove in the third run of the inning with an RBI single to center. Daniel Nava singled to put runners at first and second. A wild pitch from Sierra moved the runners up a base.
Casey Gillaspie then hit a double off the right field wall, just missing a home run as well by mere feet, to make it 5-1 in favor of the T-Bones.
Sierra was able to get the second out, but the third was a little harder.
Omar Carrizales launched a two-run home run to right to make it 7-1 and close out the eight-hit inning. Sierra would not return after three innings, surrendering seven earned runs. The right- hander had allowed just three earned runs combined against Kansas City this season in his previous three starts, totaling 17.2 innings.
Baker executed a shut-down third inning against Sioux City, but the X’s got right back into the game in the bottom of the fourth. Back-to-back RBI singles from Nate Samson and Jeremy Hazelbaker, brought home three runs to make it 7-4 KC. Then in the fifth Zawada hit a two-run home run to left to bring Sioux City to within one run at 7-6.
The T-Bones grabbed three more in the top of the sixth. Mars and Ijames reached on a single and a double off Joe Riley, setting the table for Nava. The veteran drove in the T-Bones’ eighth run with an RBI single and Christian Correa followed two batters later with an infield RBI single to score Ijames. An error by Jose Sermo on the throw to first allowed Nava to race home, making it 10-6 with KC on top.
Sioux City took advantage of two back-to-back errors by Ramsey Romano at shortstop scoring two unearned runs off Hunter Smith, who came in for the T-Bones in the fifth for Baker.
Hazelbaker hit a long single off the wall in right to score two runs to make it 10-8 and once again close the gap to a two-run KC lead. Neither club could break through in the later innings. Left-hander Henry Owens worked out of a jam with runners at second and third in the eighth to keep the T-Bones on top by two.
In the top of the ninth Ijames drove in two more runs to make it 12-8 Kansas City off reliever Sam Held. Carlos Diaz worked a scoreless ninth to close the game on the mound for the T-Bones.
Game two will be in Sioux City at 7:12 p.m. Thursday Sept. 5 in Sioux City at 7:12 p.m.
Following an off-day for travel the series will resume in Kansas City this weekend. Game three is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at JustBats Field at T-Bones Stadium in Kansas City, Kansas.
Games four and five, if necessary, are set for 5:05 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, and 7:05 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, at T-Bones Stadium.
The games will be broadcast on the T-Bones Broadcast Network, http://mixlr.com/t-bones-baseball/.
Tickets to all T-Bones home playoff games are $8 and are on sale online or by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting the Saint Luke’s Box Office between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Group ticket sales are also on sale.