WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (52-37) beat the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 9-6 at Shaw Park on Wednesday night.
For a second straight game, the Goldeyes struck early. Wes Darvill opened the bottom of the second with a single through the right side. Casio Grider followed with a bunt single. After Tanner Murphy sacrificed the runners ahead, Maikol Gonzalez hit a groundball to second base that scored Darvill with the game’s first run.
“I’m proud of my guys,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “Last night was a tough one. We got beat up pretty good by a great baseball team, a really good lineup (that’s) swinging the bat well, and we answered today. We knew today wasn’t really going to be easy facing, in my opinion, one of the top two or three starting pitchers in the league in Tyler Alexander. From the first inning on, we had really good at-bats.”
Charlie Valerio hit a two-run home run in the top of the third to give the RedHawks a brief 2-1 lead, but the Goldeyes answered back with two in the bottom of the inning. Willie Cabrera ripped a single to left leading off. Two batters later, Josh Romanski singled hard through the right side. A wild pitch moved Cabrera to third and Romanski to second. David Rohm lined a single to left that scored Cabrera with the tying run. Darvill made it 3-2 with a double to right field.
After Goldeyes’ starter Ethan Carnes (8-3) protected the lead with a scoreless top of the fourth, the Goldeyes added four more runs in the bottom half. With two outs and no one on base, Cabrera worked a four-pitch walk. Reggie Abercrombie followed with a titanic home run that landed in the upper half of the trees in left-centre field. Romanski reached on an infield single to extend the inning. Rohm then made it 7-2 with a long home run to left.
Kes Carter singled home Brian Humphries with two outs in the top of the fifth to cut the Goldeyes’ lead to 7-3, but Darvill made a backhand, diving stop on a grondball from Keury de la Cruz to help Carnes work through the inning with the lead intact.
Carnes earned the win, allowing three earned runs on four hits in five innings. Carnes walked two and struck out three.
“I’m proud of that kid,” said Forney of Carnes. “He went out there, and it’s not easy, knowing the circumstances after we’ve gotten our brains beat in for two days. He came out and gave us five good innings and left the game with the lead.”
The Goldeyes stretched the lead to 8-3 without needing a hit in their half of the fifth. Walks to Grider, Gonzalez, and Adam Heisler set up a sacrifice fly to centre from Cabrera.
KD Kang hit a two-run home run to right-centre in the top of the sixth to bring Fargo-Moorhead within three.
Grider lined a solo shot to left-centre leading off the bottom of the seventh to account for the Goldeyes’ final tally.
Eric Eadington worked two perfect innings of relief over the seventh and eighth. Eadington struck out three.
Mike Gilmartin hit a two-out, RBI single to centre in the top of the ninth that scored Charlie Valerio before Winston Abreu retired Carter on a foul popup to Rohm at first to end the game.
“We asked a lot of our bullpen today, but we don’t really have much choice this time of year,” said Forney. “They gave us the four innings that we needed to stay in the lead.”
RedHawks’ starter Tyler Alexander (11-4) took the loss, allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits in four innings. Alexander walked three and struck out two.
Rohm and Romanski both finished with three hits, while Cabrera, Darvill, and Grider each had two.
With the win, the Goldeyes improved their lead in the wild card race to two and a half games in front of Laredo. The Lemurs were suspended in the third inning with a 3-0 lead over the Kansas City T-Bones on Wednesday. Fargo-Moorhead now trails Winnipeg by five and a half games in the wild card standings. The Goldeyes also pulled within three and a half of the St. Paul Saints in the North Division after St. Paul lost 10-8 to Wichita.
The series concludes Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Duke von Schamann (7-6, 4.61) takes on right-hander Brian Ernst (3-3, 4.24).