GARY, Ind. — Behind a powerful night from Jon Gaston and some terrific pitching, the Saltdogs (36-35) downed the Gary SouthShore RailCats (41-32) 5-3 in front of 3,041 fans at U.S. Steel Yard Sunday night.
Gaston finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with four RBI, including a huge three-run homer to extend Lincoln's lead to 4-0 in the fifth, his fifth of the year.
Marquis Fleming (8-3) pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and four walks to earn his fourth consecutive win.
Trey Barham entered out of the 'Dogs' pen in the seventh with two out and two runners in scoring position, and induced a ground ball from All-Star Drew Martinez to keep Lincoln's 4-2 lead.
Marshall Schuler worked a scoreless ninth for his 24th save in 27 tries.
Ian Gac gave Lincoln a big insurance run, chopping a single to left, scoring Matt Forgatch to make it 5-3, and extended his hit streak to 14 games.
The Saltdogs, having played two fewer games than Gary thus far, are now just three games back in the loss column of the Central division lead.
A string of 21 2/3 consecutive innings without allowing a run by Lincoln starting pitchers came to an end in bottom of the fourth on a Drew Muren RBI double.
The clubs are back at it Monday night at 7:10 p.m. for the second of a four-game series. RHP Justin Kuks (4-3, 5.35) will face RHP Stephen Hiscock (8-4, 4.03). Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.