LAREDO, TX – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (4-2) beat the Laredo Lemurs 5-4 at Uni-Trade Stadium on Tuesday night.
Trailing 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Wes Darvill worked a full count, leadoff walk against Lemurs’ relief pitcher Luis de la Cruz. Carlton Tanabe followed with a line drive single down the left field line that chased Darvill to third base. Maikol Gonzalez crushed a three-run home run to straightaway left field to provide Winnipeg with its first lead of the night.
“You need to go up and have some plate discipline in that kind of situation,” said Goldeyes’ hitting coach Tom Vaeth. “Wes did exactly what we needed him to do. Those were three big runs.”
In the top of the eighth, Casio Grider reached second on an error by Lemurs’ shortstop JD Pulfer, and scored the Goldeyes’ fifth run when Darvill singled hard to centre field.
“We followed that up with a little bit of insurance,” said Vaeth. “We capitalized on their error. You’ve got to do that when you’re playing against good teams.”
Having thrown just 82 pitches through seven innings, Goldeyes’ starter Mikey O’Brien went out for the bottom of the eighth. Alvaro Rondon and Reggie Wilson opened the inning with back-to-back singles. After Pulfer sacrificed the runners ahead, Cameron McVey relieved O’Brien with the tying runs in scoring position. McVey retired three-hole hitter Ty Morrison on a groundout to second. Rondon scored on the play to cut the Goldeyes’ lead to 5-4, while Wilson advanced to third carrying the tying run. McVey then retired Travis Denker on a groundout to Gonzalez at short to end the inning.
“We were able to come back and get them there at the end,” said Vaeth. “Great job by Mikey keeping us close. Mikey settled down and kept us in it.”
Jailen Peguero worked a perfect ninth for a second straight night to earn his first save of the year. With one out, Gonzalez made a leaping catch at short to rob Drew Martinez of a base hit.
Denker homered for a second straight game to give the Lemurs (2-4) an early lead. Pulfer reached on a one-out, infield single in the bottom of the first. Two batters later, Denker hit a two-run shot to left field that made it 2-0.
The Lemurs added an unearned run in the bottom of the third. With runners on first and second and one out, Morrison reached on an error charged to Jacob Rogers that scored Wilson. Denker was next with runners on the corners and still only one out, but O’Brien induced an inning-ending double play to keep Winnipeg within striking distance.
David Rohm drove in Adam Heisler with an RBI single in the top of the fourth to pull the Goldeyes within two. Rohm doubled in the second inning to extend his season-opening hitting streak to six games.
O’Brien (2-0) earned the win, allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits. O’Brien walked one, struck out four, and matched a career high with seven and one-third innings pitched. O’Brien last worked that deep on August 15th of last year pitching for the High-A Carolina League’s Frederick Keys.
Heisler finished with three hits, and recorded his seventh and eighth stolen bases of the year.
de la Cruz (0-1) took the loss for Laredo.
Lemurs’ starter Ryan Beckman took a no-decision, allowing one earned run on four hits in six innings.
The series concludes Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. Duke von Schamann (0-1, 5.06) faces right-hander Scott Garner (0-0, 0.00). All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca
The Goldeyes’ 2016 home opener is scheduled for Monday, May 30th versus the Sioux Falls Canaries. Individual tickets for all home games at Shaw Park are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE or visiting ticketmaster.ca For information regarding season tickets, 10-Game Mini Packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com