WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (58-42) claimed the American Association wild card on Monday afternoon, splitting a double header with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in front of a standing room only crowd of 7,787 at Shaw Park.
The Goldeyes clinched the 18th playoff berth in the franchise’s 23-year history with a 6-1 win in game one. Kevin McGovern (8-3) was brilliant in his final start of the regular season, pitching a complete game two-hitter for the win. McGovern allowed one earned run, walked two, and struck out nine during the seven-inning effort. The nine strikeouts gave McGovern 125 for the year which now ranks third on the Goldeyes’ single-season list. McGovern passed both Jeff Keppen (117, 2000) and Brad Purcell (119, 2004) on Monday.
The RedHawks took an early 1-0 lead on a one-out, solo home run to left from Ryan Pineda, but McGovern allowed just one hit the rest of the way.
The Goldeyes immediately tied the game in the bottom of the first. Adam Heisler drew a four-pitch, leadoff walk. Two batters later, Willie Cabrera singled to left to move Heisler to second. Reggie Abercrombie followed with a line drive single to right-centre that chased home Heisler with the tying run.
In the bottom of the second, Casio Grider ripped a leadoff single down the left field line. After Wes Darvill sacrificed Grider to second, Carlton Tanabe drove a double to left-centre that gave the Goldeyes a lead they would never relinquish. Heisler followed with a line drive single to centre that scored Tanabe to make it 3-1.
From the second inning into the sixth, McGovern retired 12 of 13 RedHawks’ batters.
The Goldeyes stretched their lead with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Heisler came back from an 0-2 count to draw a 10-pitch leadoff walk, and took second on a bunt single from Maikol Gonzalez. RedHawks’ catcher Charlie Valerio back picked Gonzalez for the first out of the inning, but Cabrera singled home Heisler on a line drive to right-centre. Abercrombie followed with a two-run homer to left.
It was Abercrombie’s 20th of the year, marking the second time the former Major Leaguer has reached 20-plus homers and 20-plus stolen bases in an American Association season. Abercrombie was the first to accomplish the feat in 2010 with the Sioux Falls Pheasants (22 home runs, 34 stolen bases) and was joined by Denis Phipps of the Laredo Lemurs last week.
McGovern pitched a perfect top of the seventh to close out his third complete game of the season. McGovern retired KD Kang on a groundout to second before recording back-to-back strikeouts of Dustin Geiger and Charlie Valerio to end the game.
Jose Almarante (4-2) started for the RedHawks and took the loss. Almarante allowed six earned runs on eight hits in four and one-third innings. Almarante walked two and struck out three.
In the nightcap, the RedHawks won 10-5 to split the twinbill. Tanner Murphy hit an RBI double in the second to give the Goldeyes a 1-0 lead, before the RedHawks went in front with a five-run top of the fourth.
Winnipeg battled back in the fifth on a two-out, two-run, ground rule double from Grider.
After the RedHawks scored one run in the sixth to makeit 6-3, the Goldeyes pulled within one in the bottom half on a two-out, infield single by Josh Romanski and a bases loaded walk to Jacob Rogers.
The RedHawks broke the game open with four runs in the top of the ninth on homers from Kes Carter and Keury de la Cruz.
Kyle Anderson started game two and took a no-decision with two scoreless innings on four hits. Anderson walked none and struck out none.
Dylan Mouzakes (2-0) earned the win for the RedHawks, allowing three earned runs on 10 hits in 5.0 innings. Mouzakes walked none and struck out four.
Colton Reavis earned his 12th save, recording the final four outs.
Brandon Shimo (2-2) took the loss for the Goldeyes.
David Rohm had three hits for Winnipeg in the nightcap. Gonzalez started at second base in game two and was the only Goldeye to start all 100 games this season.
The Goldeyes open the 2016 American Association Division Series against the St. Paul Saints at Shaw Park on Wednesday night. The Goldeyes will host Games One and Two (Wednesday and Thursday), both of which start at 7:05 p.m. The Saints will host Game Three on Saturday night at CHS Field, as well as the if necessary Games Four and Five (Sunday and Monday).
Tickets for both home playoff 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 2017 season tickets, 10-Game Mini Packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-2273.