GARY, IN. 8-22-2010 – The Rockford RiverHawks scored four times in the first three innings and held on to beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats 5-3 Sunday afternoon in front of 4,586 fans at U. S. Steel Yard, taking two of three in the series.
The loss ended a nine-game RailCats homestand and saw the RailCats suffer their first series loss in their last five, dating back to an August 2-4 set against the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The RailCats still finished their nine-game homestand 5-4 and hit the road this week to start a quick road trip still in sole possession of third place in the league.
Rockford jumped out to an early 2-0 lead when Jason James doubled in Victor Buttler and James came in to score two batters later on a Travis Scott single. The RiverHawks would get two more in the third to break a 2-2 tie and tag starter Nolan Nicholson (5-4) for another run in the fifth to round out their scoring. Nicholson allowed five earned runs – his highest total since his third start, July 3 – and walked four in 5.0 innings.
The RailCats would quickly answer Rockford’s first innings runs with a pair in the bottom of the inning. Cristian Guerrero singled with two outs to push runners to first and third and Tanner Townsend would score on a wild pitch later in the inning. Randall Simon drove in Guerrero later with a two-out single to tie the game at two, but Mike Wood (3-6) was in control the rest of the day. Wood allowed just three earned runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings, walking one and striking out three.
Both teams reached double-digit hits in the game, with the RiverHawks finishing with 12 hits while the ‘Cats tallied 11. Louis Ott, Mike Rohde and Jeff Beachum all had two hits for the ‘Cats, who stranded nine runners on base. The RailCats brought the tying runs to the plate in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings but failed to score in each frame.
The RailCats bullpen was one bright spot, with Zeb Engle and Chris Chavez going a combined four shutout innings. Chavez enjoyed his longest outing as a RailCat, striking out two and giving up two base hits in 2.1 innings of work.
The RailCats (46-40) hit the road for a quick three-game series against the Kansas City T-Bones (48-36) starting Monday night at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Willie Glen (9-2, 2.75 ERA) will make the start Monday for the ‘Cats with Ryan Knippschild (9-6, 5.00 ERA) scheduled for the T-Bones. All three games in the series will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and on the web at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Notes: Adam Klein walked twice but went officially 0-for-3 to end his 11-game hitting streak … Ott reached in his first two plate appearances Sunday – with a double and a triple – to reach for the seventh straight plate appearance before a sixth inning strikeout … before the game, the RailCats placed catcher Mike Valadez on the disabled list and activated Townsend.