KANSAS CITY, KS – The Lincoln Saltdogs (35-21) put up four runs in the top of the first inning and held off the Kansas City T-Bones (31-24) to win 6-5 in the first game of a three-game series at Community America Ballpark in Kansas City.
Derek Gordon earned his third straight win after going five innings and allowing three runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out two batters.
The Saltdogs jumped on former Major League pitcher Scott Carroll in the top of the first inning. Christian Ibarra started the game with a single and Matty Johnson followed with a walk to bring up Cesar Valera. The second baseman belted his third home run of the season over the left field fence to grab the lead. Then, Curt Smith singled and Nathaniel Maggio doubled him in to make it a four run lead.
Kansas City scored their first run in the bottom of the third. Chantz Mack walked with one out and moved to third base on a botched pickoff move. He scored a single by Marcus Lemon to make it 4-1.
The T-Bones tacked on two more in the next inning. Gordon walked Joe Jackson and Tony Caldwell to set up Mack with two outs. The right fielder came through with a bases-clearing double to cut the Saltdogs lead to just one run.
Lincoln built the lead back in the top of the fifth. Johnson legged out a triple and Valera followed with a double to score a run. Later, Brandon Jacobs netted a two-out RBI with a single to make it 6-3.
Kansas City hit a solo home run off of Fabio Martinez in the sixth but Cesilio Pimentel and Cameron McVey successfully bridged the gap to closer Michael Wagner after that. Wagner walked the first two batters to put the tying run aboard. Then, KC bunted the runners to second and third base. Kevin Keyes followed with a sacrifice fly that scored a run and put the tying run up to third base. Next, Wagner struck out Tyler Horan to complete his 12th save and hold off the T-Bones.
The victory was the Saltdogs eighth straight win. Lincoln is now 4-3 against Kansas City and extends their division lead to 3.5 games over the T-Bones.
The Central Division foes play game two on Wednesday night in Kansas City. First pitch is at 7:05 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
The Saltdogs return home on Friday to face the Wichita Wingnuts. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling (402) 474-2255 or visiting Saltdogs.com. For the latest information on the Saltdogs follow the team on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball.