T-Bones down Explorers for fourth straight win
Kansas City, Kan. For the first three innings of Monday's series opener against the Sioux City Explorers, the T-Bones had little working in their favor. They trailed by two runs before ever stepping up to the plate and managed just one hit the first time through the lineup.
As it turns out, though, the tables turned just in the nick of time.
Kansas City erased a three-run deficit and pushed its win streak to four games with a 5-4 victory over the Explorers at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
After falling behind 4-1 in the seventh inning, the T-Bones (31-26) came to life at the plate. They pulled within a run on a two-run single by left fielder Brandon Jones and evened the score on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Enrique Cruz.
One inning later, they took their first lead of the game on a pinch-hit, RBI double by Hunter Mense.
"I told Hunter to be ready as soon as they go to the bullpen and start bringing in their righty setup guys," manager Kenny Hook said. "It worked out perfect. I think Hunter offers really good at-bats in those situations, so that's exactly what we were looking for."
T-Bone starter Luke Irvine struggled in the early going and the Explorers (26-31) turned a pair of Kansas City errors into a 2-0 lead in the first inning. However, Irvine eventually settled in and allowed just one more runner to cross the plate.
Irvine, a reliever-turned-starter, allowed 11 hits in six innings, but was only charged with one earned run.
"We were struggling and feeling out what the umpire's zone was going to be," Hook said. "(Irvine) had to make some adjustment. It was good to see him battle through some of that and keep us in the game. It gave us a chance to win."
Center fielder Gus Milner got the T-Bones on the board with a solo home run in the fifth, but Sioux City got the run back in the top of the seventh. That made it 4-1 and set the stage for Kansas City's late comeback.
Reliever Steve Kent got the win despite facing just one Sioux City hitter in the eighth. The T-Bone bullpen combined for three innings of one-run ball. Mike Mehlich picked up his sixth save with a perfect ninth inning.
Kansas City will try to clinch the three-game series when it returns to the field for game two at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday. Left-hander Devin Anderson will get the start for the T-Bones and try for his fourth win of the season.
Score by inning
Sioux City 200 100 100 — 4 14 1
Kansas City 000 010 31X — 5 8 2
SIOUX CITY: 2B — None. 3B — None. HR — K. Sanchez. RBI — B. Bistagne, P. Barrows, K. Sanchez, M. Bisenius. SB — None. E — R. Priddy.
KANSAS CITY: 2B — L. Cruz, P. Trettel, H. Mense. 3B — None. HR — G. Milner. RBI — B. Jones 2, L. Cruz, H. Mense, G. Milner. SB — None. E — J. Bass, D. Goodwin.
WP — S. Kent (4-2). LP — J. Plefka (0-2). S — M. Mehlich (6).