T-Bones overcome slow start in win over Pheasants
Kansas City, Kan. T-Bone pitcher Jake Wiley is used to taking the mound with the game on the line. The circumstances weren't exactly the norm in Tuesday's series opener against the Sioux Falls Pheasants, but Wiley still got the result he was looking for.
Wiley, primarily Kansas City's closer, entered the game in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. He got out of the inning with no damage, ultimately preserving a 6-4 victory at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
The T-Bones (25-20) clung to a one-run lead after seven innings, and reliever Drew Bailey allowed three straight Pheasants to reach base in the top of the eighth. He was ejected for arguing balls and strikes after loading the bases, prompting an earlier-than-expected entrance by Wiley.
The right-hander got a force-out at home, a strikeout and a grounder to first to keep the lead in his team's favor.
"I knew that was a tough situation coming in," Wiley said. "After that thing with Bailey, I was coming in cold, but you can't think about things like that. You've just got to go out and throw strikes."
Third baseman Enrique Cruz added some insurance with a solo home run in the home half of the inning, providing the final margin of victory. Mike Mehlich pitched a perfect ninth for his third save of the season.
Sioux Falls (24-19) jumped out to an early lead, tagging T-Bone starter Shaun Garceau for three runs on three in the top of the first. Only one run was earned, though, as two were a product of a fielding error by second baseman David Goodwin. The Pheasants added one more in the top of the third to extend their advantage to 4-0.
Garceau threw 34 pitches in the opening frame, but eventually settled in and allowed just one more run over the next five innings. He picked up the win, keeping his season record unblemished at 5-0.
Pheasant starter Rod Scurry mowed down hitters in the early going, giving up just one run in the first four innings — a third-inning homer off the bat off catcher Bubby Williams. The T-Bones got to Scurry in the middle innings, however, as they scored two runs each in the fifth and sixth to go in front for good.
"That's the first time we've seen Shaun not have his best stuff, but I love the way we responded," manager Kenny Hook said. "We really had to grind out some at-bats because that guy (Scurry) was pitching really tough. I don't think there was any panic. It was just a matter of trying to figure out what (Scurry) was doing to our hitters. Once we did, we made some adjustments."
The win is the third straight for Kansas City and its seventh victory in its last eight home games. The Pheasants, on the other hand, had a five-game win streak snapped. Game two of the four-game series is set for 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.
"I always tell our guys it's about winning the series," Hook said. "It's a lot easier when you get that first game. With our pitching, we feel like if we get game one, we have a chance to get the series, if not sweep the series."
Score by inning
Sioux Falls 301 000 000 — 4 10 2
Kansas City 001 022 01X — 6 10 2
SIOUX FALLS: 2B — C. Guerrero, J. Anthonsen 2. 3B — J. Taylor. HR — None. RBI — C. Nicolas, C. Guerrero, M. Shorey, T. Lawhorn. SB — C. Guerrero, M. Shorey. E — C. Nicolas, R. Scurry.
KANSAS CITY: 2B — D. Goodwin. 3B — None. HR — B. Williams, E. Cruz. RBI — J. Bass, G. Milner, E. Cruz, J. Duran, B. Williams. SB — G. Milner. E — J. Duran, D. Goodwin.
WP — S. Garceau (5-0). LP — R. Scurry (3-2). S — M. Mehlich (3).