Thursday, June 7, 2012

T-Bones score big in early innings, cruise to victory


FARGO, ND-  Facing the hottest starting pitcher in the league in Fargo-Moorehead right-hander Alex Caldera, who came in 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA, the Kansas City T-Bones expected runs to be hard to come by in Game 3 of the series. 

Instead, just the opposite occurred, as KC jumped on Caldera in the first and second innings to the tune of five runs on four hits and cruised to an 8-3 win on Wednesday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

The game began in a positive fashion for Kansas City, as leadoff man Gus Milner sliced a single down the right field line and Brandon Jones followed with a line drive single to center. 

Ray Sadler then walked to load the bases with nobody out.  Caldera then struck out Kala Ka’aihue and Trevor Coleman looking in back-to-back at-bats. 

But, just as it appeared Caldera would slip out of the jam, the inning blew up around him.  T-Bones third baseman Devin Goodwin hit a bouncing ball to third that went through the legs of Enrique Cruz to allow two runs to score.

In the top of the second, Kansas City pushed three runs across on two hits and another error by the RedHawks infield. 

Meanwhile, in the inning, Caldera walked two T-Bones and hit another as his normally sharp command completely left him.  With KC staked to a 5-0 lead, right-hander Matt Mitchell (2-2) took over.

The Barstow, CA native worked scoreless first, second, and third innings.  He allowed two runs on four hits in the fourth, as Fargo-Moorhead inched back to within 5-2. 

The T-Bones offense added two runs on three hits and a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, highlighted by a Justin Bass RBI single, to push the KC lead to 7-2. 

That lead would be more than enough cushion for Mitchell, who put up zeros in the next two innings and even worked through the first out of the seventh before giving way to right-hander Dan Kickham. 

Mitchell’s winning line was 7.1 IP, three runs (all earned), eight hits, two walks, and four strikeouts.  He dropped his ERA to 4.68.

The T-Bones bullpen was perfect from there on out.  Kickham retired two men in-a-row to finish the 8th, and Jake Wiley closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, including a strikeout of former T-Bones great Aharon Eggleston. 

KC catcher Trevor Coleman finished the night three for five with three singles, one RBI, and one run scored. 

The suddenly red-hot switch hitter is now seven for thirteen in the series with two doubles and three RBIs.

 He raised his average to .341.

Kansas City now sits at 10-9 on the season, in second place in the Central Division of the American Association.  The loss dropped the traditionally powerful RedHawks to 8-11. 

The finale of the four-game series is set for 7:02 on Thursday night.  KC will send RHP Brian Grening (2-1; 3.92) to the hill and Fargo-Moorhead will go with RHP Paul Burnside (1-2; 4.96). 

The game can be heard in the Kansas City market on the KMBZ Business Channel, 1660 AM, and worldwide online at