by Adam Cook, Monarchs
The Kansas City Monarchs (23-11) came away with an electrifying win Tuesday night against the Sioux City Explorers (14-19) as the team collected its first comeback win of the season by a score of 8-6 just before a storm rolled in.
It was quite the offensive duel, as the Explorers and Monarchs had nine and 10 hits, but the Monarchs’ offense continued its dominance, coming out on top in this one.
The Monarchs’ Jon Harris was the starter, but it was the Explorers’ Chase Harris who struck first.
Sioux City got on the board early as Chase Harris, the first batter of the game, sent a solo shot to left field and Sioux City took a 1-0 lead. This was the only noise from the first inning as the Monarchs were sat down in the bottom half in four batters.
Sioux City might have led off the second inning the same way they led off the first if it wasn’t for Gaby Guerrero’s home run robbing snag over the visitor’s bullpen.
This did not save the Monarchs from surrendering any runs in the inning, as John Anthon delivered for the Explorers with a 2 RBI triple to give Sioux City a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom half, however, Jan Hernandez added to his American Association leading home run totals with a solo homer over the left field home run patio, cutting the deficit to two.
In the third, the Monarchs’ offense capitalized on Jon Harris’ first 1-2-3 inning of the game. The scoring was led off with an RBI triple from Darnell Sweeney. Gaby Guerrero then drove in Sweeney in the next at-bat with a single over Explorers second baseman Nate Samson, evening the score at three before the end of the inning.
The Explorers did not let the game stay tied for long, however, as a pair of doubles from Chase Harris and Adelmar Rifaela in the fifth inning gave Sioux City the lead once again, 4-3.
The Monarchs answered with a double of their own after Matt Adams went against the shift down the left field line, but was unable to cross the plate.
Leadoff home runs continued to be the theme of the night for Sioux City as Trey Martin led off the top of the sixth with a solo bomb to left field, making the score 5-3 Explorers and chasing Jon Harris from the game for Jordan Martinson.
Martinson’s first batter of the game, Chase Harris, sent a deep fly to the deepest part of the park in left center where Kansas City center fielder Willie Abreu made a stellar over-the-shoulder catch to save a run, end the inning and keep the Monarchs’ deficit at two.
Sioux City only added to the tally in the seventh, however. A ground-rule double from Danny Amaral and a single from Nate Samson extended the lead to 6-3 Explorers.
Martinson then turned a double play and got a strikeout to escape a bases-loaded jam and limit the damage.
In the bottom half, the Monarchs had a shot to cut the deficit with Darnell Sweeney on third and Gaby Guerrero at the plate, but Sweeney was cut down at home to end the inning while trying to tag up on a Guerrero fly ball to left.
With weather quickly rolling in in the eighth, the Monarchs’ David Thompson used the wind to his advantage to hit a line drive to right field that the wind pushed over the fence, giving him a two-run home run and cutting the Explorers’ lead to one.
A two-out Pete Kozma walk brought Monarchs catcher J.C. Escarra to the plate. Escarra came through in a big way with an RBI triple to the right-center gap, putting himself at third base in a now tied ballgame.
Willie Abreu then slapped a backhand ground ball to third base, beating the throw and scoring Kozma to give Kansas City its first lead of the game, 7-6.
After Abreu stole second and third base in back-to-back pitches, Darnell Sweeney continued the two-out rally with a textbook line drive single to straightaway center field, scoring Abreu and cushioning the Monarchs’ lead 8-6.
Jameson McGrane entered for the Monarchs in the top of the ninth, collecting two strikeouts before retiring the side in four batters, sealing the Monarchs’ win.
The Monarchs will go head-to-head against the Sioux City Explorers for game two of the three-game homestand at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Legends Field.
The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the video stream airing on aabaseball.tv.
Tickets to Monarchs games can be purchased by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting monarchsbaseball.com.