GARY, Ind. — The Saltdogs (36-25) furiously rallied late but fell just shy of completing the sweep as the Gary SouthShore RailCats (32-30) held on 9-6 in front of 3,050 fans at U.S. Steel Yard Sunday afternoon.
Lincoln lost for just the fifth time in 24 contests and leads the Central division by 4 1/2 games.
Trailing 9-3 through seven innings, Lincoln plated a run in the eighth and two in the ninth.
The Saltdogs had the bases loaded with no out but Jorge De Leon induced a foul out and two strikeouts to end the game.
Lincoln jumped out to early leads of 2-0 and 3-2 before Gary took advantage of four Saltdogs errors to score the game’s next seven runs.
All Star catcher Luis Alen finished 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI.
Rene Leveret had three hits for the second straight game and Brandon Jacobs and Tyler Urps each had two.
The Saltdogs totaled 40 hits over the three-game series.
Casey Barnes (3-4) yielded nine runs – three earned – in 4 2/3 innings to suffer the loss.
Lincoln’s bullpen of Stephen Shackleford, Clayton Cook and Evan Reed combined to throw 3 1/3 shutout frames to give Lincoln’s come back a chance.
Gary improves to 12-4 in matinee games.
Austin Darby made a spectacular back-handed diving catch in deep right field in to rob Jose Gonzalez of an extra-base hit in the seventh.
The Saltdogs begin a three game series at Wichita Monday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Ryan O’Sullivan is expected to face RHP Tim Brown. Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR FM 103.3/1240 AM.