Canaries’ Blunders Doom Birds in 4-1 Loss
Photo Courtesy: Ryan Alexander Photography
SIOUX FALLS, SD – Joe Bircher pitched another quality start, but bullpen struggles and defensive mistakes doomed the Sioux Falls Canaries in a 4-1 loss against the Laredo Lemurs on Friday night at Sioux Falls Stadium.
Bircher pitched seven very strong innings, giving up only one run while scattering six hits over his seven frames. He actually watched his ERA drop after Friday night to 2.42, but has yet to pick up a win this season due to a lack of run support.
Bircher and Laredo ace Matt Sergey matched one another stride for stride through the first five frames in a classic pitchers’ duel. Bircher was the first to blink in the top of the sixth. Denis Phipps earned a two-out walk, then advanced to third on a single by J.D. Pulfer. Drew Martinez broke the scoreless tie with a RBI single, scoring Phipps from third.
The Birds would battle back, though, in the bottom of the sixth. Ethan Chapman led off with a walk, then Aaron Owen singled, putting runners at first and second. Ozney Guillen grounded out to the right side, allowing both Chapman and Owen to advance, putting runner at second and third with one away. David Bergin was intentionally walked to load the bases. A Jake Taylor sacrifice fly tied the ballgame at one apiece, but the Birds failed to do any more damage.
Joe Bircher’s most stressful inning came in the seventh. The bases were loaded thanks to two singles and an error with one away. But Bircher would dance out of danger with an inning-ending double play to keep his shot at his first win in tact.
The wheels fell off the bus for the Birds in the late innings yet again. With James Jones on the hill, Denis Phipps singled to lead off the eighth inning. Pulfer then smashed the first pitch he saw from Jones over the wall in left-center field to break the tie and push the Lemurs to a 3-1 lead. Drew Martinez struck out for the first out, and Jesus Posso sent a weakly hit fly ball out to right for what should have been out number two. But an error by Aaron Owen, one of four costly errors on the day by the Canaries defense, allowed Posso to advance to second. He would later come around to score, digging the Birds further into a hole at 4-1.
The Birds again had to jump on the comeback train, something they’ve had to do far too often this season. But Jose Nivar and Jeff Inman came in out of the Laredo ‘pen and sat the Birds down 1-2-3 in the eighth and ninth innings to end the Canaries chances of a Friday night miracle.
The Canaries will face Laredo in the final game of the short two-game series on Saturday night. Kris Regas will make his first start of the season and will be facing Ryan Beckman (1-4, 3.44 ERA). The Canaries will then have two off-days in a row on Sunday and Monday before heading to St. Paul for a North Division matchup against the Saints. Contact the Canaries ticket office for information regarding single game or season ticket options by calling 605-336-6060 or visit the website at www.sfcanaries.com for more information.