WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (28-25) beat the Sioux City Explorers 6-4 at Shaw Park on Thursday night.
Reggie Abercrombie homered twice to become the American Association’s all-time leader in home runs with 88.
“It’s a good win,” said Abercrombie. “Carl came out and pitched a great game. Cabrera did a good job hitting the home run. Everybody was doing good on the bases, from ‘Heis’ all the way down to Romanski. Everybody did good today. He (Carl) came out with a game plan, he stuck with it, and we got the win from it. You know, he went seven strong innings and got the win.”
With the Goldeyes already leading 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Abercrombie led off the inning with a no-doubt home run to left field. It was Abercrombie’s eighth of the year, and his 87th in the American Association, tying him with John Allen for the all-time record.
Goldeyes’ starter Edwin Carl (4-5) made the lead stand up through five innings before Ralph Henriquez hit a two-out, two-run double to centre in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 2-2.
With one out and no one on base in the bottom of the sixth, right-hander P.J. Francescon was brought in to face Abercrombie. On a 2-1 count, Abercrombie lined Francescon’s pitch over the wall in left-centre for the record-breaking home run. Abercrombie’s mother was in attendance for the historic night.
“It feels good, just to get the opportunity to come out and play this game and break a record is awesome,” said Abercrombie. “It was wonderful (on his mother visiting from Georgia). She’s been behind me my whole life, her and my dad. I know she called my dad back home and everybody else, and it was a great thing for my family, and a great thing for me.”
Carl earned the win, allowing two earned runs on five hits in six and one-third innings. Carl walked two and struck out eight.
Maikol Gonzalez made a critical defensive play in the top of the seventh to protect the one-run lead. With the tying run on third and two outs, Gonzalez ranged wide behind the second base bag to field a soft one-hopper from Derrick Robinson. Gonzalez’s throw beat Robinson by a step at first to end the inning.
The Goldeyes stretched the lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the seventh. Gonzalez tripled down the right field line with one out and scored on an RBI single to right from Josh Romanski. Willie Cabrera followed with a two-run homer to centre, his third in seven games since being acquired last Thursday.
The Explorers scratched out single runs in the eighth and ninth before Robert Tasin got Nate Samson to ground out to third, stranding the tying runs on base.
Romanski drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the first. Adam Heisler opened the inning with a double and was sacrificed to third by Gonzalez before Romanski drove him in.
Francescon (0-2) took the loss in relief.
Cody Forsythe started for the Explorers and took a no-decision, allowing two earned runs on three hits in five and one-third innings. Forsythe walked three and struck out one.
The Goldeyes open a three-game series against the Gary SouthShore RailCats Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Duke von Schamann (4-4, 3.69) takes on right-hander Zach Staniewicz (0-0, 1.29). Staniewicz is a knuckleball pitcher.
Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.goldeyes.com, or stopping by any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park. For information on season tickets, 10-Game Mini Packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-2273.