Canaries Overwhelm T-Bones
By Tony Cola
The Sioux Falls Canaries put a stop to a home three-game losing streak in impressive fashion Thursday night as two home runs, including a grand slam, by first baseman Chris Duffy carried the Canary offense in a 12-5 win over the Kansas City T-Bones at the Birdcage. Designated hitter A.J. Kirby-Jones also slugged a homer in his Sioux Falls season debut while starting pitcher Kyle Vazquez (2-1) allowed four run in six innings on ten hits for the Canaries, who were looking to rebound quick after a tough 8-7 loss to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks last evening.
“You’re going to have nights like this,” said Duffy, who came into the night with 3 RBIs. “They make up for the nights you go 0-for.”
A two-run blast by T-Bone third baseman T.J. Mittelstaedt dumped the Canaries in an early 2-0 hole in the top of the second, though Sioux Falls would respond in resounding fashion the next half-inning. T-Bone starting pitcher Matt Smith opened the bottom of the second by hitting the lead-off batter and walking two before facing Duffy, who proceeded to a rocket a 1-0 pitch into the right field bleachers and give the Canaries a 4-2 lead. The 4-2 lead grew to 5-2 when third baseman Carlos Mendez squeaked a hit past Mittelstaedt later in the inning, his 11th RBI of the young season. Sioux Falls continued their roll in the bottom of the third by adding two more runs on a double by Shelby Ford and a passed ball, respectively.
The T-Bones cut the lead to 7-4 in the top of the seventh on hits by Danny Richar and Mittlestaedt, but it would be the closest Kansas City would get all night. A two-run jack by Kirby-Jones in the bottom of the sixth followed by back-to-back slugs from Shelby Ford and Duffy jumped the lead to 12-4, all-but-sealing a night of offensive explosion for the Canaries.
Relief pitcher Erick Gonzalez had no trouble finishing off the T-Bones in the top of the ninth, producing a double play to put the cap on the Canaries’ third home win of the year and their sixth of the season.
“We’re just taking it one day at a time,” said Duffy. “It’s marathon and a long season.”
The Canaries will return to the Birdcage tomorrow night to face off against the T-Bones at 7:05 pm. There will be fireworks presented by Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Orthopedic Institute & All-Star Fireworks along with 2 for 1 smoked brisket sandwiches with purchase of a beverage through the 3rd inning.