GARY, IN. — The Kansas City T-Bones scored four times in the top of the seventh inning – highlighted by a three-run Jim Fasano home run – and beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats, 9-6 Thursday on Opening Night at U. S. Steel Yard.
In a back-and-forth game, the T-Bones erased a two-run RailCats lead with a single tally in the sixth and four unearned runs the next inning. Fasano drove in four runs for the visitors and sent the game’s decisive blow over the left field fence with two outs in the seventh to make the score 8-5. The RailCats got a run closer in the eighth, but left two runners on in both the seventh and eighth innings to fall a bit short.
Nearly 3,500 fans saw Thursday’s game despite a persistent rainfall at the ballpark that lasted throughout the night. Those fans were treated to Willie Glen’s first start in a RailCats uniform since 2007, and the veteran did not disappoint. The T-Bones got an unearned run on a pair of ‘Cats errors in the first, but Glen did not allow a hit into the fourth. In the third inning, Glen struck out the side – Jimmy Mojica, Keanon Simon and Jake Blackwood – on just nine pitches. The T-Bones took a 3-0 lead on a two-run Brian Joynt home run in the fourth, which was the only hit Glen allowed. In 4.0 innings, the right-hander struck out six but did issue four walks.
The RailCats got on the board in the fourth inning against former Major Leaguer Dewon Brazelton when Tanner Townsend walked with two outs. One batter later, rookie John Parham ripped a triple into the right field corner for his first professional hit to get the ‘Cats their first run of the season. One inning later, the RailCats took their first and only lead with four unearned runs. Jeff Beachum had a two-out RBI single to tie the game and Townsend smoked a double off the center field fence against reliever Steven Stewart (1-0) to put the RailCats in front, 5-3.
Stewart pitched well aside from the Townsend double and earned the win, allowing only two hits in 2.1 innings. James Baker (0-1) suffered the loss for the RailCats despite not allowing an earned run. The game was plagued by miscues, as the RailCats committed five errors and the T-Bones added three, and the clubs also combined to issue 15 walks.
Six different RailCats had hits in the game, with Cristian Guerrero’s seventh inning double one of three extra-base hits. Fasano went 2-for-4 to lead Kansas City, while Joynt was 2-for-5 with three RBI.
The RailCats (0-1) season-opening six-game homestand continues Friday night at 7 p.m. against the T-Bones (1-0) as right-hander Brandon Magee (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will take the ball for the ‘Cats against lefty Ryan Knippschild (0-0, 0.00 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Friday is also Joe Gates Appreciation Night at U. S. Steel Yard, as the late Gary native and long-time RailCats coach will have his number 45 retired in a pre-game ceremony at approximately 6:30 p.m. Gates will also be honored this summer with a #45 patch worn on the RailCats jerseys. Friday night’s game is also the first Fireworks Friday of the year, presented by First Midwest Bank and the Post-Tribune. Tickets are available at 219.882.2255, www.railcatsbaseball.com or by visiting the U. S. Steel Yard Box Office during regular business hours Friday.
Notes: The loss drops the RailCats to 2-7 all-time in season openers, and 2-6 in their home debuts … Parham started behind the plate in his first professional game … Louis Ott pinch-hit for Parham in the seventh and caught the remainder of the game … Adam Klein, who led the Northern League with 58 walks while a member of the Joliet JackHammers in 2009, walked three times in his RailCats debut … the two teams combined to score only five earned runs out of the 15 total.