GARY, IN. — Right-hander Andrew Cruse allowed only two hits in six shutouts innings and the Kansas City T-Bones spoiled an excellent debut from former Major Leaguer Brad Halsey to beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats 4-1 Saturday night at U. S. Steel Yard.
Halsey (0-1) retired the first seven batters he faced and allowed only an unearned third inning run on a two-out Keanon Simon bloop single. Halsey was efficient and effective, lasting longer than any RailCats starter so far this year and allowing only two hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts. The left-hander pitched in 88 Major League games from 2004-06 before an arm injury derailed his career in 2007. Saturday’s game was just Halsey’s 17th since the start of the 2007 season.
Cruse (1-0) matched Halsey pitch-for-pitch and got better as his outing went on, allowing hits in each of the first two innings but nothing else the rest of the way. Cruse did issue three walks, but the RailCats moved only one runner as far as second base during the first six frames. The former Winnipeg hurler improved his ERA to 1.97 in four career starts against the ‘Cats.
Kansas City padded their lead with a pair of runs in the sixth inning against reliever James Baker. After the first two hitters walked, Jake Blackwood and Rico Washington followed with RBI singles to make it 3-0. Eladio Rodriguez homered off Baker in the seventh to make it a 4-0 game.
The RailCats mounted a mini-rally in the ninth inning, getting runners to first and second with two outs when Washington mishandled pinch-hitter Jeff Beachum’s ground ball for an error, allowing a run to score. Adam Klein came up next representing the tying run and hit a scorching line drive that was caught by Washington at third to end the game.
Mike Reese had two of the RailCats five hits, each of which was a single. Zeb Engle provided one bright spot out of the bullpen, striking out three and allowing only one hit in 2.1 scoreless innings of relief.
The RailCats (0-3) and T-Bones (3-0) wrap their season-opening series Sunday at 2 p.m. back at The Steel Yard. Former Colorado Rockies right-hander Zach McClellan (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will start on the hill for the ‘Cats against Kansas City left-hander Reid Santos (0-0, 0.00 ERA). The game, like every RailCats game, will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
It’s also the first The Times Family Sunday at U. S. Steel Yard, with a discount coupon available in the Sunday edition of the Northwest Indiana Times that buys fans four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for $36. The ‘Cats will also give away t-shirts to the first 1,000 fans age 18 and over. The t-shirts feature RailCats players from throughout the years and the flagship radio home of the ’Cats, 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore. Gates will open Sunday at 1 p.m.
Notes: Klein reached twice more in Saturday’s game, walking and recording an infield single. Klein has a .417 on-base percentage through three games despite notching only one hit … despite having only five hits, the RailCats put runners on in seven of the game’s nine innings and had the leadoff man reach four times … Engle’s outing Saturday was just the second scoreless appearance by a RailCats reliever this year … the RailCats have lost three straight home games for the first time since July 22-24, 2008.