WINNIPEG, MB – After 17-plus days on the road, the Winnipeg Goldeyes (7-4) beat the Sioux Falls Canaries 3-2 in front of 7,076 fans at Shaw Park during their 2016 home opener on Monday night.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Reggie Abercrombie singled through the left side leading off. Abercrombie stole second, advanced to third on Jacob Rogers‘ single to left, and scored the tying run on a David Rohm sacrifice fly to deep centre field.
Josh Romanski led off the bottom of the fourth with a towering, solo home run to right that provided the Goldeyes a 2-1 lead they never relinquished.
In the bottom of the fifth, Wes Darvill tripled to centre field with one out. Two batters later, Adam Heisler lined an opposite-field single to left that made it 3-1. Heisler had three hits in the game.
The Canaries (5-6) pulled back within one in the next half inning. Ethan Chapman opened the frame with an infield single against Goldeyes’ starter Mikey O’Brien. Chapman stole second, took third on a groundball to first from Blake Schmit, and scored two batters later on a two-out, RBI single from David Bergin.
“The pitching was good today,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “Mikey was just good enough. You tip your cap to Sioux Falls. They did a nice job of fighting off some pitches, and driving his pitch count up early.”
Eric Eadington relieved O’Brien and struck out Ozney Guillen to end the inning and strand the tying run on base.
“Everyone contributed,” said O’Brien. “There was a lot of crazy stuff that happened, and it was a baseball game. I’m just glad we came out on the top end with the win, and got our homestand started off right.”
O’Brien (3-0) earned the win, allowing two earned runs on four hits in five and two-thirds innings. O’Brien walked one and struck out six.
“He (O’Brien) battles out there,” said Forney. “He gives you everything he can, and you just kind of let him go out there every fifth day and do his thing. He knows his way around. He can pitch with a lead, and did that well today.”
Brandon Shimo continued the strong run of pitching with a scoreless seventh. Shimo bookended the inning with a pair of strikeouts. In between, Shimo allowed a single to Frank Martinez, but executed a timely pickoff throw to first that retired Martinez as the second out.
“The bullpen was super,” said Forney. “Eric Eadington came in and got a big out to end the sixth inning. Brandon Shimo, who’s really been doing a nice job for us, came in and gave us a good seventh, and showed a lot of mound poise out there. McVey’s been really good in the eighth inning. Jailen was effectively wild early in the count, but was on top of his game when he got the two strikes.”
Cameron McVey worked a perfect top of the eighth, including strikeouts of Aaron Owen and Ethan Chapman.
Jailen Peguero dominated the ninth, striking out Sioux Falls’ three, four, and five hitters in order to notch his second save of the year.
The five Goldeyes pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts in the win. Winnipeg has won five of its last seven games.
“It was just good pitching, good defence,” said Forney. “We did just enough offensively today to scratch out a win.”
Misael Siverio (1-1) took the loss for Sioux Falls, allowing three earned runs on eight hits over seven and one-third innings.
Rohm’s season-opening 10-game hitting streak came to an end on Monday night. In the bottom of the first, the Canaries turned a triple play. With Heisler on second and Maikol Gonzalez on first, Romanski ripped a line drive to first with the runners in motion. Bergin caught the line drive, stepped on first, and then completed the triple play with a throw to second base.
The four-game series continues Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Kevin McGovern (0-0, 1.13) squares off against Canaries’ right-hander Shawn Blackwell (1-1, 4.40).
Tickets for all 2016 Winnipeg 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.