WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (61-36) beat the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 5-0 at Shaw Park on Friday night.
The Goldeyes have pitched three consecutive shutouts for just a second time in franchise history, and have combined for 28.0 consecutive scoreless innings stretching back to the bottom of the ninth of Tuesday’s win at St. Paul.
Kevin McGovern (13-3) picked up the win with seven shutout innings on six hits. McGovern walked two and struck out four. The 13 wins tie Rafael Gross (2003) for second on the Goldeyes’ single-season list. With 118 strikeouts on the year, McGovern also passes Jeff Keppen (2000) for fifth. McGovern’s 125 strikeouts in 2016 rank third on the same list.
The Goldeyes took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Casey Turgeon led off with a single up the middle, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on a double down the left field line from Shawn Pleffner.
McGovern protected the lead all night, and after facing first and second with no outs in the top of the first, the left-hander retired the next 11 batters in a row.
Pleffner made a diving stop on a hard one-hopper inside the first base line to rob KD Kang leading off the top of the third. In the top of the sixth, Andrew Sohn ranged wide up the middle from shortstop to field a groundball and throw out Kang at first.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Tanner DeVinny came back from an 0-2 count and hit a line drive home run to right on a 3-2 pitch from RedHawks’ starter Jose Almarante. It was DeVinny’s first career home run. Turgeon followed with another single up the middle, and the Goldeyes stretched the lead to 4-0 two batters later when Pleffner hit a line drive homer to centre.
The RedHawks brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the top of the seventh, but McGovern struck out Kang and Brandon Tierney back-to-back to end the threat.
Mitchell Lambson pitched a scoreless top of the eighth in relief of McGovern. DeVinny drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half and took second on a wild pitch. With two outs, the RedHawks elected to intentionally walk Pleffner. Reggie Abercrombie followed with an RBI single to left that scored DeVinny. It was Abercrombie’s 80th RBI of the year, making him just the eighth player in team history to reach the benchmark.
Ryan Chaffee pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to close out the game. With a runner on first, Abercrombie made a sprinting catch towards the centre field wall to rob Trever Adams for the final out and preserve the shutout.
Almarante (6-7) took the loss, allowing four earned runs on 12 hits over six innings. Almarante walked two and struck out five.
The Goldeyes last pitched three consecutive shutouts in 2013 when they blanked the St. Paul Saints in three straight games from August 21st-23rd.
The win was also the Goldeyes’ 61st of the year, which is now the second-highest total in team history, and two shy of the franchise record of 63 set in 2014.
Game two of the four-game series is Saturday evening at 6:05 p.m. Mikey O’Brien (10-4, 4.55) faces left-hander Tyler Alexander (7-6, 2.13).
The Lincoln Saltdogs clinched the American Association Central Division on Friday, which means the Goldeyes will face either the RedHawks or Saltdogs in the American Association Division Series on Wednesday.
The Goldeyes begin postseason play on Wednesday, September 6th. Tickets for all Goldeyes postseason home games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.
For information on Winnipeg Goldeyes’ season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com