Canaries Rally Falls Short in Gary
By Aaron Rosenberg
GARY, IN - The Canaries were unable to work the series in their favor against the Gary Southshore RailCats Wednesday night, falling behind 7-0 after four innings en route to a 9-6 loss. A late rally gave Canaries fans some hope, but the slow start doomed the Birds who ill now try to leave Gary with a series split tomorrow night.
Joe Bircher had his roughest start of the season for the Canaries, allowing seven runs on 13 hits in five innings. Dropping to 1-4 with the loss, Wednesday night marked the first time this season in eight starts that Bircher did not go at least six innings.
Ryan Babineau delivered a two-run double in the 1st and Drew Muren, Dan Pulfer and Drew Martinez each drove in a run in the 2nd for the RailCats, who quickly built a 5-0 lead in the first two frames. After a scoreless 3rd, Bircher was tagged for two more runs in the 4th on RBI singles from Zac Mitchell and Adam Humes to push the Gary lead to 7-0.
After being held scoreless on one hit through five innings by RailCats starter Stephen Bougher, the Canaries nearly cut the deficit in half in the 6th. Sam Lind and Steve Tinoco each drew walks and came around to score on AJ Kirby-Jones's three-run blast, his 5th of the season.
Chase Boruff relieved Bircher for the Canaries in the bottom of the 6th, but did not fare well in his debut. Unable to convert the shutdown inning, Gary plated two runs and extended their lead back to six, 9-3. Erick Gonzalez worked the final two frames for the Canaries, keeping Gary off the scoreboard.
Carlos Mendez started a late Canaries rally, singling with one out in the 9th for his second hit of the night. Mendez now has six multi-hit games in the last two weeks. Chris Duffy followed with a single of his own and an infield hit by Ty Forney scored Mendez. Sam Lind's sacrifice fly made it 9-5 and the Birds would push one more across on an error by Muren in center. The rally would stop there, however, as Coleman Stephens retired Steve Tinoco to end the game.
Ben Moore will start the series finale for the Canaries who will try to salvage a split before returning home on Friday. Moore has won his last three starts and would move into the Sioux Falls career wins lead with a victory Thursday night.