Walk-Off Homer Spoils Blackwell's Big Night In Winnipeg
By: J.J. Hartigan
WINNIPEG, MB- The Sioux Falls Canaries traveled north of the border to open up a three-game series against the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Tuesday night at Shaw Park in front of a crowd of 5, 167. Starting pitcher Shawn Blackwell took a shutout into the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Goldeyes spoiled the night with three runs, including a Luis Alen two-run walk-off homerun to defeat the Canaries by the final score of 3-2.
Chris Grayson propelled the Canaries to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a leadoff homerun (2) over the right field wall. The Birds got back-to-back singles from Jerome Pena and David Bergin to put two on with nobody out in the inning before Brian Humphries made it 2-0 with an RBI double. The offense stalled after that, with Goldeyes starter Kyle Anderson retiring the next three batters.
Anderson settled down after the rocky first inning, retiring 13 consecutive batters, before allowing Brett Balkan to reach base on a one-out single in the fifth. The lefty allowed two men on base after the first inning and left the game trailing 2-0 after eight innings.
Canaries starting pitcher Shawn Blackwell (2-8, 4.05 ERA) was perfect over his first three innings, and just two over the minimum before running into trouble in the bottom of the sixth. The right-hander gave up a pair of two-out singles to Adam Heisler and Reggie Abercrombie, but worked his way out of the jam, forcing Casey Haerther to ground out to third base, ending the threat for Winnipeg.
Blackwell would allow just two more Goldeyes’ batters to reach base in the seventh and eighth innings, before plunking Haerther to lead off the ninth inning. Josh Mazzola and Brad Boyer moved Haerther over to third base with a pair of ground outs before Tillman Pugh pushed across the first Goldeyes’ run of the night on a two-out RBI single to break up the shutout. Two pitches later, Luis Alen ended the game with a walk-off two run homerun.
Blackwell put together arguably the best pitching performance of the season by a Canaries starter, but ultimately suffered the tough-luck loss after allowing three runs on six hits over 8 2/3 innings.
Humphries continued his stellar season at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Humphries now leads the American Association with 104 hits on the year and is in the top five of several other offensive categories, including homeruns (12) and batting average (.335).
Winnipeg’s Field Manager Rick Forney earned his 524th career victory on Tuesday night, becoming the winningest manager in Goldeyes’ franchise history.
The series continues on Wednesday night at 7:05 PM with LHP Miguel Pena (6-5, 3.13 ERA) toeing the rubber in game two of the best-of-three series at Shaw Park.
The Canaries open up a weekend series against the Gary-Southshore RailCats on Friday, August 14th. Catch the action on the field at 7:05 PM, and be sure to stick around after the game for the final Friday night All-Star Fireworks Display of the 2015 season presented by Orthopedic Institute and Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital.
Fans can catch all the action home and away on AM-1230, FM-98.1, Sioux Falls Sports Radio KWSN. Pre-game coverage will begin at 3:45 PM as the “Voice of the Canaries” JJ Hartigan will bring all the latest news related to Canaries baseball.
Tickets for the final half of the season are still available and can be purchased through the Canaries Box Office at (605) 336-6060 or visit www.sfcanaries.com. No matter your schedule, the Canaries have a ticket package for you. Ask a Canaries representative about partial plan or E-Z Game Tickets.