9th-Inning Rally Falls Short As Canaries Fall To Chicago
Photo courtesy of Ry Tupper Photography
The Sioux Falls Canaries put the tying run in scoring position in the dying moments of Saturday's clash with Chicago, but fell just short in the end 4-2.
The Birds offense was slow to start throughout the game, managing just two hits through the first seven innings of play. It was a stark contrast to the Birds' nine-run outburst in Friday night's season opener.
"There's no real momentum in baseball," Canaries manager Mike Meyer said after the game. "Momentum's only as good as the next day's starting pitcher."
Chicago's starting pitcher for Saturday, Kylin Turnbull, quieted the Birds' bats over six shutout innings. He struck out four with no walks and one hit batter.
"He was able to work the count, change speeds -- and he was really effective against us," Meyer said. "Early in the game he kind of lulled our offense with his off-speed stuff."
Turnbull got just enough support from his offense to hold onto the lead. Chicago opened the scoring in the top of the first, when Treyson Vavra doubled, moved to third on a fly ball, and scored on an infield single by Kyle Gaedele.
It was Gaedele's second RBI in as many at-bats after hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning of Friday's game.
The Dogs added another in the 4th on a line-drive home run by Joe Benson, his first on the young season. The lead grew to 3-0 in the eighth on an RBI single by Jonathan Moroney.
Canaries starter Joe Bircher took a tough-luck loss in the effort, allowing two runs in seven innings of work.
"He did a great job for us tonight," Meyer said of Bircher. "If we can get that type of outing out of our rotation, we're going to be pretty good this year."
Bircher gave up five hits over his seven innings, walking none and striking out four. He retired the last ten batters he faced before being pulled.
The Canaries' rally started in the eighth, when leadoff hitter Chris Grayson hit a solo home run to right to cut the lead to 3-1. Chicago would get the run back in the top of the ninth, sending the Birds up to bat with a 4-1 deficit.
A leadoff double from Blake Schmit off Dogs closer Kaohi Downing set the table for the Birds. After a Jabari Henry flyout, Chris Jacobs drove Schmit in with an RBI single to make it 4-2.
That brought up Ty Morrison, who hit a single to right. Moroney, the Dogs' right fielder, misplayed the ball. His error allowed Jacobs and Morrison to move to second and third with one out for Patrick Fiala.
Fiala hit a dribbler in front of the mound, and Jacobs broke for the plate. Downing threw home, and Chicago catcher Wilfredo Rodriguez applied the tag for the second out.
With the tying run now moved back to first base, Aaron Gretz grounded out to end the game.
The Birds have a quick turnaround for tomorrow's rubber game at 1 p.m. in Sioux Falls. Right-hander Dylan Thompson will get the start for the Canaries, beginning a move to the rotation after spending 2017 as a reliever.
"We felt like he could be effective in this ballpark, keeping the ball on the ground," Meyer said of Thompson. "If he can establish the bottom of the zone with his sinker, he can be as good as anybody."
Fans can still snag tickets to the game by visiting the Sioux Falls Stadium box office or calling 336-6060.