Birds Outlast Winnipeg, Take Over First Place
PHOTO: Josh Jurgens / Sioux Falls Canaries
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- An early lead held up for the Sioux Falls Canaries Friday night for one of their biggest wins of the season.
A six-run Birds edge dwindled to two, but the Canaries hung on to secure a their fourth win in a row. The victory moves the Canaries into first place in the American Association with a 5-2 record.
Damek Tomscha continued his hot hitting for the Canaries, going 4-for-5 with three runs batted in. Jabari Henry hit his second home run of the season; Grady Wood earned the win with a solid 5.2 innings.
Sioux Falls opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, when Tomscha drove in Andrew Ely with a one-out single. The Birds put up a five-spot in the second, including an RBI single from Andrew Ely, Henry's two-run homer, and an RBI groundout from Clint Coulter.
Goldeyes starter Kevin McGovern left after two innings. He allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits, walking one and striking out one.
Winnipeg battled back, scoring two in the third on RBI singles from Darnell Sweeney and Kyle Martin. They added two more in the fourth inning on a bases-loaded ground ball, with the second run coming in on a throwing error from Sioux Falls shortstop Andrew Ely. The Goldeyes moved the tying run to scoring position at the end of the frame, but Eric Wood popped out with men on second and third to end the threat.
The Birds extended their lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the inning after another RBI single from Tomscha.
The Goldeyes tacked on another run in the top of the sixth. Wood left the game with runners on first and second and two out. Reliever Will Solomon allowed an RBI single to Sweeney, cutting the Birds' lead to 7-5.
Wood allowed five runs (three earned) in 5.2 innings. He walked three and struck out seven, a season high for a Canary pitcher.
Tomscha made it 8-5 Birds with an RBI triple in the eighth, bringing his season RBI total to a team-high 12.
With the Birds up three and Canary closer Keaton Steele resting after three straight nights on the mound, Ryan Fritze came on to finish the game. He allowed an RBI single to John Nester to make it 8-6, but struck out Jonathan Moroney to end the game.
The Canaries and Goldeyes meet again for the middle game of their three-game series Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. McKenzie Mills will get the start for the Goldeyes; Jake Zokan will get the ball for the Birds.