WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (53-38) lost 7-5 to the Sioux City Explorers at Shaw Park on Friday night.
With Laredo splitting a double header at Joplin, the Goldeyes have a one and a half game lead in the wild card race with nine left to play. St. Paul won at Lincoln, pushing Winnipeg four games back in the North Division.
Tied at 2-2 in the top of the eighth, the Explorers rallied for five runs to take their second lead of the night. Tommy Mendonca drew a leadoff walk, and advanced to second on a soft single to centre from Bryan Johns. After Ino Patron laid down a sacrifice bunt, Michael Abreu lined a single to right that scored Mendonca. Derrick Robinson brought in Johns from third with a safety squeeze bunt, and reached first when the play resulted in an error. Tim Colwell followed with a two-run triple to left-centre. After Cameron McVey relieved Eric Eadington (3-4), Colwell scored from third on Nate Samson’s groundball to first base. Colwell was ruled safe ahead of David Rohm’s throw to the plate.
The Goldeyes answered back in the bottom of the eighth. Adam Heisler ripped a line drive single to right leading off and moved to second on a walk to Willie Cabrera. Reggie Abercrombie battled PJ Francescon (4-7) for eight pitches, including four consecutive two-strike fouls before blasting a three-run homer to left-centre that cut the Explorers’ lead to 7-5. Josh Romanski followed with a double to right-centre, while Rohm legged out an infield single that put the tying runs on base with no outs. Sioux City, however, survived the rally with Francescon retiring Wes Darvill on a hard line drive to left, and Rob Wort coming in from the bullpen and recording the final two outs of the inning.
After Robert Tasin pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, Wort managed a perfect bottom half on three groundballs to finish off the five-out save. It was Wort’s fifth save of the year.
Francsecon earned the win in relief, while Eadington took the loss.
The Explorers built a 2-0 lead on a pair of two-out, RBI singles. Mendonca lined a single to right in the fourth that scored LeVon Washington, while Washington hit a sharp groundball single to centre in the fifth that plated Abreu.
The Goldeyes scored two unearned runs off Francescon in the seventh to tie the game. With Romanski on first and one out, Darvill lined a single to right that bounced by Robinson. Romanski scored to make it 2-1 while Darvill went to third. After Casio Grider was intentionally walked, Tanner Murphy beat out a potential inning-ending double play ball that allowed Darvill to score. Grider helped break up the double play at second base.
Kevin McGovern started for the Goldeyes and took a no-decision. McGovern allowed two earned runs on eight hits in six and two-thirds innings. McGovern walked two and struck out seven.
Jacob Kuebler also took a no-decision in the start for Sioux City. Kuebler pitched six shutout innings on three hits, walking four and striking out five.
Romanski had three hits in the game, while Rohm has hit safely in seven straight.
The series continues Saturday evening at 6:05 p.m. Edwin Carl (8-6, 4.75) goes for Winnipeg. The Explorers have not yet announced their starting 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.