GARY, IN. 8-14-2010 – The Lake County Fielders strung together five ninth inning singles to put four runs on the board and come from behind to beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats 6-5 Saturday night at U. S. Steel Yard, snapping the RailCats season-long eight-game winning streak.
In a game played in front of the season’s largest crowd (5,467) at The Steel Yard, the ‘Cats scored three times without a hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 5-2 lead into the ninth. Without the services of closer Andy Shipman – who had pitched in the previous two games – the inning started with Amos Ramon singling off Brad Furnish and Joshua Short drawing a walk. Aaron Cook (4-2) was summoned from the bullpen to relieve Furnish and quickly allowed a Brian McFall single to load the bases. Two batters later, Cody Strait singled to score a pair, pinch-hitter Juan Valdes singled to tie the game and Guillermo Martinez cracked a two-out base hit to give Lake County the lead.
The RailCats nearly rallied back in the bottom of the ninth, getting back-to-back one out singles from Mike Rohde and Mike Valadez and getting runners to second and third base with two outs before Marco Gonzalez (3-1) struck out Mike Massaro to end the game.
Lake County led throughout much of the night, getting solo home runs from Brian McFall in the second and fourth innings off starter Brad Halsey to build a 2-0 lead. Halsey was very good for the second straight start against the Fielders, going 7.0 innings and allowing only the two runs on four base hits.
Halsey’s counterpart, rookie Alec Lewis, was just as good for Lake County, pitching into the seventh with the 2-0 cushion before Cristian Guerrero reached on a one-out infield single. That brought Randall Simon to the plate, and the former Major Leaguer lined a screaming home run the opposite way to left to tie the game, his first home run as a RailCat.
The RailCats rally in the eighth started with a pair of walks before Massaro dropped down a bunt that Gonzalez threw wildly to third, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Jay Pecci followed Massaro with a sacrifice fly and a Simon ground ball later in the inning brought in a third run to make the score 5-2 RailCats.
The loss leaves the RailCats one win shy of a franchise record win streak with Saturday’s setback their first since losing 6-2 to the Fielders Thursday, August 5 in Zion, Ill. Saturday’s game also marked the first time in the last eight the RailCats failed to score seven runs or reach double-digit hits (the ‘Cats finished with seven hits). McFall and Strait were the only players in the game with more than one hit, as McFall went 3-for-4 to lead all hitters.
The RailCats (42-37) and Fielders (33-45) play for the final time this season Sunday at 2 p.m. at U. S. Steel Yard. Left-hander Tom Thornton (1-9, 5.25 ERA) will start for the RailCats with John Brownell (2-7, 5.96 ERA) scheduled to pitch for Lake County. The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
It’s another The Times Family Sunday at U. S. Steel Yard, with a great discount coupon for a family of four available in all Sunday editions of The Northwest Indiana Times that gives families a day of fun at the park – food included – for just $36. Plus, kids run the bases (weather permitting) after every Sunday game. Great seats are still available by calling 219.882.2255 or stopping by the U. S. Steel Yard Box Office.
Notes: With Simon’s home run Saturday the RailCats have now hit at least one home run in 11 straight games … by allowing two of the 11 runs in the ninth, Cook saw a personal 13.1 innings scoreless streak come to an end … the RailCats eight-game winning streak started with a pair of ninth inning comebacks over the Fielders in Lake County … both Simon and RailCats third baseman Tanner Townsend were forced to leave the game with injuries.