Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend T-Bones Recap: T-Bones complete road sweep

SATURDAY: As cleanup hitter Andres Rodriguez was rounding the bases after launching a deep two-run home run to left field in the third inning, it looked as though Kansas City’s opportunity to sweep the three-game series against the defending American Association champions was slipping away. 

The 400-foot plus home run put Grand Prairie on top 3-0, and KC right-hander Brian Grening looked to be wavering a bit.  He allowed four hits in the inning, including the Rodriguez homer.

But, in typical T-Bones fashion of late, Kansas City answered back right away.  The T-Bones scored three runs on two hits and a costly Yasutsugu Nishimoto fielding error in the top of the 4th, knotting the game at 3-3. 

Third baseman Devin Goodwin picked up a big RBI single to score Sean Henry, Trevor Coleman scored on the fielding error my Nishimoto, and catcher Bubby Williams hit a sacrifice fly to score Goodwin.

After the offense offered their support, Grening appeared to steady on the hill.  He responded with scoreless 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, including a one-two-three 4th.

The T-Bones scored the go-ahead run in the 7th on an RBI ground ball double down the left field line off the bat of former KU star and Olathe, KS native Gus Milner.  The double scored Reid Fronk who led off the inning and was hit by a curve ball from right-hander Derrick Miramontes.

From that point on, the suddenly dominant T-Bones bullpen did just that, they dominated.

Right-hander Sean Toler, throwing in the low 90s with his fastball, faced four hitters while working a scoreless 8th inning, striking out two.  That set the table for closer Jake Wiley in the 9th. 

The hard-throwing right-hander, who earned the save in Friday night’s 4-3 victory as well, would not disappoint.  In a mirror image from Game 2 of the series, Wiley struck out former T-Bones center fielder Keanon Simon to finish the game.  With two down and Zane Chavez at first base, Wiley finished Simon and the AirHogs on a foul-tipped fastball that was held onto by Williams behind the plate.  The save was Wiley’s third of the season.

Grening earned the win, improving to 2-0 in the process.  His final line was seven innings pitched, three runs, all earned, on seven hits.  He struck out six and walked two.

The three-game road sweep of the AirHogs improves KC to 5-5 on the season.  Sunday is a rare off day for the T-Bones, and they’ll begin a three-game series on Monday in El Paso, TX versus the Diablos.


FRIDAY: Our national pastime begins and ends with pitching, and Friday night’s game at QuikTrip Park was no different. 

The Kansas City T-Bones used a strong start from right-hander Matt Mitchell and a gutsy save from righty Jake Wiley to close out Grand Prairie, 4-3.  The win puts the T-Bones in position for a three-game sweep on Saturday night.

Mitchell worked seven innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits.  The 23-year-old from Barstow, CA dazzled in the middle innings, retiring nine consecutive AirHogs hitters between the second and fifth innings. 

His final line was seven innings, two runs, one earned, on four hits.  He struck out two and walked one.  The right-hander comes away with the win, improving to 1-1 on the season and lowering his ERA to 2.84.

Kansas City scored one run on three hits in the third to tie the game 1-1, then added one run on one hit in the 4th to take a 2-1 lead.  Grand Prairie tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the 6th with a leadoff opposite field homer to left by Trent Lockwood, his second of the season.

The T-Bones answered back with two runs on two hits in the 8th, including an RBI triple by former Atlanta Braves outfielder Brandon Jones and a botched would-be inning-ending 4-6-3 double play ball that extended the inning.  Kansas City set an all-time single game record for triples, recording four in the game, with one each by Trevor Coleman, Reid Fronk, Jose Duran, and Brandon Jones.

Liberty, MO native Lucas Wiley (RHP) pitched the eighth inning, giving up one run on three singles.  The 8th ended on a long drive to right field off the bat of former Major Leaguer Brian Myrow that was caught on the dead run by T-Bones right fielder Reid Fronk on the warning track.  At the time the ball was hit, the AirHogs had runners at second and third and would have taken the lead had the ball fallen to the outfield grass.

Right-hander Jake Wiley pitched the ninth, earning his second save of 2012.  He induced back-to-back groundouts by the first two batters he faced, then walked pinch-hitter Zane Chavez.  The next hitter was former T-Bones All-Star leadoff man Keanon Simon, whom Wiley froze with a 2-2 fastball on the outside corner to finish the game.