GARY, IN. — Tanner Townsend highlighted a five-run fourth inning with a two-run triple as the Gary SouthShore RailCats earned their first win of the season Sunday afternoon at U. S. Steel Yard, dropping the Kansas City T-Bones, 5-2.
After three scoreless innings, the T-Bones jumped on the board with an unearned run in the top of the fourth inning but the RailCats had an answer. Mike Rohde led off the bottom of the fourth with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. After a Jay Pecci walk, Cristian Guerrero hit a ground ball to shortstop that was mishandled by Kansas City’s Jimmy Mojica for an error, loading the bases with no one out. Jeff Beachum came up next and tied the score with a groundout to first that advanced all three runners. That sent Townsend to the plate, and on a 0-1 pitch the RailCats shortstop sent a missile into the right-center field gap, scoring both runners. Townsend would score moments later on a Yuki Matsumoto single, and Matsumoto scored on a second T-Bones error later in the inning.
All the scoring came off T-Bones starter Reid Santos (0-1), who had allowed only one baserunner through the first three but recorded only one out in the fourth. Santos was saddled with the loss and charged with five runs (three earned) on five hits.
Zach McClellan made the start for the RailCats, his first since July 26, 2005, and was solid in four innings. McClellan, who was on a strict pitch limit as he rehabs an injury, allowed just three hits and an unearned run, striking out three without a walk. Brad Furnish (1-0) came on in relief of McClellan in the fifth and promptly put the first four runners on base on a hit-by-pitch and three singles. With a run in and the bases loaded with no one out, Furnish responded by getting the next three hitters in order to get out of the inning with no further damage done.
Furnish would go on to work three innings Sunday, allowing four hits and notching three strikeouts for his first Northern League win. Andy Shipman replaced Furnish in the eighth with the RailCats bullpen already depleted from earlier in the series and earned the six-out save, allowing only a Brian Joynt base hit in the eighth inning. The reigning Northern League Relief Pitcher of the Year, Shipman needed only 25 pitches to finish off the T-Bones.
The T-Bones out-hit the RailCats 8-6 and stranded nine men on base, as ‘Cats pitchers worked only two 1-2-3 innings. Rohde had two hits to lead the RailCats, while Joynt went 2-for-4 to pace the visitors.
The RailCats (1-3) continue their six-game homestand Monday with a special 11 a.m. start against the Rockford RiverHawks. Right-hander Ryan Zink (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his RailCats debut Monday against Rockford’s Brett Durand (0-0, 0.00 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and on www.railcatsbaseball.com. Tickets for Monday’s game are still available at the U. S. Steel Yard Box Office.
Notes: Furnish worked a team-leading 4.2 innings out of the RailCats bullpen in the series … the RailCats put only three runners on base outside of the five-run fourth inning … McClellan, a former Major Leaguer with the Colorado Rockies, was pitching in a professional game for the first time since August 24, 2008 … Townsend has two hits this season, Sunday’s two-run triple and two-run double on Thursday night … Kansas City First Base Coach Damian Rolls was ejected from the game in the sixth inning for arguing a check swing.