Ninth-Inning Homers Sink Birds In Loss At Fargo-Moorhead

Posted: 5/30/2018

james_jones_follow_through.jpgPhoto courtesy Ry Tupper Photography

The Sioux Falls Canaries lost in a stunner on Wednesday night.

The Birds gave up two home runs in the ninth inning, including a walk-off grand slam by Keury De La Cruz to seal an 8-4 win for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks from Newman Outdoor Field.

The Birds led 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth. Canaries closer James Jones allowed six runs to score in the inning.

Fargo-Moorhead catcher Charlie Valerio hit a two-run blast with one out in the ninth to tie the game at 4.

The next batter, Leobaldo PiƱa, reached on an infield single, moving to second on a groundout by Maikol Gonzalez. That prompted Canaries manager Mike Meyer to intentionally walk Devan Ahart, sending Brennan Metzger to the plate with runners on first and second and two out.

Metzger worked the count full and appeared to foul another pitch off, before first base umpire Ron Teague called Canaries catcher Aaron Gretz for interference. That gave Metzger first base and loaded the bases for De La Cruz.

De La Cruz hit a no-doubter to right to end the game.

Despite the high-scoring finish, the game started out as a pitchers' duel. Chris Jacobs hit an RBI single in the first to give the Canaries the lead, followed by five innings of scoreless ball.

The RedHawks tied the game at 1 in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Ahart.

Canaries starter Dylan Thompson worked five strong innings in the no-decision, allowing one run on four hits while walking two and striking out three.

The teams traded runs in the seventh, starting with an RBI double by Tyler Wolfe in the top of the frame. Gonzalez tied it back up at 2 in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single.

The Canaries plated two runs in the eighth, neither via a hit. Blake Schmit led the inning off with a single, then stole second and moved to third on a throwing error from Valerio.

Following a Jabari Henry strikeout, Chris Grayson dug in for Sioux Falls. The first pitch he saw was wild, sending Schmit home. He beat the throw from Valerio to give the Canaries a 3-2 lead

Fargo-Moorhead pitcher Andrew Woeck, who was covering home plate on the throw, immediately confronted home plate umpire Nick Spencer and was ejected.

After Randy McCurry replaced Woeck, Grayson doubled. He stole third during the next at-bat, scoring on another Valerio throwing error.

That gave the Birds a 4-2 lead heading into Fargo's six-run ninth.

Sioux Falls has an off day tomorrow before starting their second homestand of the year on Friday against the Lincoln SaltDogs. Birds fans can grab their tickets at the Sioux Falls Stadium box office or by calling 336-6060.