By MATT FULKS, tbonesbaseball.com
GARY, Ind. – Kansas City spotted Gary SouthShore seven runs through five innings, which was too much of a deficit in an 8-5 loss Friday night at the U.S. Steel Yard.
For the third time in this series, the RailCats took a 2-0 lead. Unlike Thursday night, though, when the T-Bones pitchers were able to hold the Gary SouthShore offense at bay long enough for Kansas City to take the lead and go on to win 8-3, the T-Bones’ first two pitchers, Rick Zagone and Jared Messer, gave up nine hits and eight runs through 5 1/3 innings.
Kansas City’s offense finally got to Gary SouthShore starter Stephen Bougher in the top of the sixth inning. Trailing 7-0, T.J. Mittelstaedt tagged Bougher (6-5) for a one-out home run, Mittelstaedt’s 12th of the season. Then, with two outs, Matt Padgett singled, moved to second on a base hit by Ray Sadler, and then scored on a double by Nick Schwaner.
The RailCats, however, answered with an insurance run against reliever Messer in the bottom of the sixth for an 8-2 lead. It was the third run Messer gave up in 2 innings of relief. For the starter Zagone (6-5), who was Kansas City’s most dependable starter early in the season, it was another rough outing. Zagone exited after 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs and five hits. It was the fourth consecutive start in which he’s allowed at least five runs.
The T-Bones put together a two-out rally in the seventh. With Vladimir Frias and Brian Erie on base with two outs against relief pitcher Chuck Fontana, Danny Richar singled in Frias. Padgett then roped a double that scored Erie and Richar that cut the RailCats lead to 8-5.
Padgett, who was one of the league’s best hitters last season and re-joined the T-Bones earlier this road trip on July 25, had his first three-hit game in a T-Bones uniform since July 30, 2013. He went 3-for-5 Friday with a run scored and two RBIs.
Kansas City started the eighth with back-to-back hits and looked primed for another come-from-behind win, but Frias and Erie both struck out, and Robby Kuzdale ended the comeback bid with a groundout.
The T-Bones (34-37) and RailCats (41-30) will conclude their four-game series Saturday night at 7:10.