GARY, IN. 7-0-2010 – Andrew Cruse became the first Northern League pitcher to seven wins and Jim Fasano drove in four runs as the league-leading Kansas City T-Bones won the opener of a three-game series over the Gary SouthShore RailCats, 6-1 Friday night at U. S. Steel Yard.
The T-Bones scored twice in the first inning and led the rest of the way, claiming victory for the ninth time in their last 11 contests. Cruse (7-2) was in control of the game from the outset, allowing just six singles in 7.0 innings while striking out six. The right-hander lowered his season ERA to 1.97 – lowest among all Northern League starters – and beat the RailCats for the second time in as many starts.
The RailCats lone run came across in the third, when Todd Dulaney singled with one out and Adam Klein moved him around to third with another hit one pitch later. Cruse came back to strike out Mike Reese for the second out, but Mike Massaro came through with a clutch two-out RBI single to cut the Kansas City lead to 2-1.
Fasano would break the RailCats back two innings later, however, stepping in against reliever Zeb Engle with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth. On a 3-2 pitch, Fasano lined a base hit just over first baseman Mike Rohde into right to score two runs. The RailCats would never seriously threaten again and Fasano picked up another RBI on a two-out single in the seventh en route to his four RBI night. The Northern League leader, Fasano now has 46 runs batted in this season.
Kansas City scored its first inning runs against right-hander Nolan Nicholson (1-2), who was charged with four earned runs in 4.2 innings while allowing six hits and five walks. The rookie tiptoed out of danger in the second, third and fourth, but gave up the two first inning runs – on a Fasano sacrifice fly and a double steal – and was charged with the two in the fifth.
The loss was the RailCats fifth in a row and eighth in their last nine games at U. S. Steel Yard. The losing streak is the longest for the RailCats this season, and dropped the club’s record at home to a 9-14, matching the RailCats loss total at U. S. Steel Yard all of last season.
Dulaney had the only two-hit game for the RailCats, who managed only seven singles in the game. Ray Sadler went 3-for-5 to lead a 12-hit Kansas City attack, with Fasano, Brian Joynt, Dwayne White and Jimmy Mojica each chipping in two hits. Rico Washington did not have a hit, but reached base five times and drew a Northern League record four walks.
The RailCats (23-24) and T-Bones (30-17) will play the second game of their three-game series Saturday night at 6 p.m. at U. S. Steel Yard. Tom Thornton (1-3, 3.76 ERA) will start for the RailCats opposite veteran T-Bones left-hander Reid Santos (1-3, 6.07 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
The first 1,000 kids (age 12 and under) at The Steel Yard Saturday night will get a beautiful RailCats Glove free, just for coming to the ballpark, courtesy NIEMI Associates and the Northwest Indiana Times. Limited seats are still available for no more than $10 and parking at U. S. Steel Yard is always free. To buy tickets or for more information, call the RailCats at 219.882.2255 or stop by the U. S. Steel Yard Box Office anytime Saturday after 10 a.m.
Notes: The RailCats five-game losing streak is their longest since a six-game skid May 26 – June 2, 2009 … over the last five games the RailCats have scored only eight runs, scoring more than two runs just once … Zeb Engle pitched in relief for the first time since June 23. He had started twice since that time … the RailCats are below .500 for the first time since June 6, when their record was 8-9.