WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (12-9) beat the Chicago Dogs 2-1 at Shaw Park in front of 6,350 fans on Saturday evening.
Goldeyes’ starter Kevin McGovern (2-1) was the winning pitcher, allowing one earned run on three hits over seven and two-thirds innings. McGovern walked none, struck out 14, and threw just 89 pitches. The 14 strikeouts were one shy of McGovern’s career-high set in 2014, two shy of the Goldeyes’ single-game record set by Mike Bailey in 1997, and three shy of the American Association single-game record.
“He was fantastic today,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney on his starting pitcher. “He gave us exactly what we needed. The arm speed was good on all of his pitches. Fastball velocity and fastball command was good today. The change-up was the best it’s been all year, and his slider always seems to be there for him.”
Beginning with Trey Vavra in the first, and concluding with Shawon Dunston Jr. in the third, McGovern struck out eight consecutive hitters, which is a new Goldeyes’ record. The previous mark was six consecutive strikeouts, last accomplished by Matt Rusch in 2012. From the fourth inning through the seventh, McGovern retired 11 batters in a row.
The Goldeyes scored both of their runs in the bottom of the fourth. Reggie Abercrombie legged out an infield single with one out and stole second base. Kevin Garcia followed with an RBI double to right. Abercrombie scored on the play, and Garcia took third on an errant throw by Chicago right fielder Jonathan Moroney. With the Dogs’ infield in, Josh Mazzola fought off a single to left on an 0-2 count that scored Garcia to make it 2-0.
“There’s great defence behind us,” said McGovern. “I was on a really good pace with Kevin Garcia, and it really started to show in the first couple of innings. It was nice to throw a lot of strikes and get our guys in there to try and hit. Our pitching is really coming in, and I think our bats will be coming in soon. I think we’re going to be the scariest team in the league in the next couple of months, so I’m excited for that.”
The Dogs cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the eighth. Moroney led off with a groundball double down the left field line, took third on a chopper up the middle by Dalton Blaser, and scored on a Matt Dean sacrifice fly. After Cameron McVey relieved McGovern, Victor Cruzado made a leaping catch on a line drive to right-centre to rob Michael Baca of extra bases.
Victor Capellan threw a perfect top of the ninth inning to earn his 10th save of the year. Abercrombie caught the final out, running down a deep flyball to centre from Edwin Arroyo.
Kylin Turnbull started for Chicago and took the loss, allowing two earned runs on six hits over five innings. Turnbull walked one and struck out three.
Saturday was also ‘Bark in the Park,’ and the crowd fell just shy of the Guinness World Record for Most Dogs Attending a Sporting Event. The record is 1,122 dogs, set by the Chicago White Sox in 2016. 973 dogs attended Saturday’s game at Shaw Park.
The series concludes Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Edwin Carl (2-1, 6.10) faces Chicago right-hander Josh Goossen-Brown (0-2, 5.66). Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/Goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.