SIOUX FALLS, SD – The Lincoln Saltdogs (39-23) faltered in a 6-4 loss in their first game back from the All-Star break against the Sioux Falls Canaries (30-32) at The Birdcage on Thursday night.
The sloppy game featured four errors and two wild pitches. It was hotly contested, though, seeing three ties and a lead change. The Saltdogs outhit the Canareis 9-7 in the loss which is just the fifth loss of the year when the Saltdogs outhit their opponent.
Lincoln got on the board first in the top of the first inning. Christian Ibarra led off the game with a base hit and moved to second on a groundout by Cesar Valera. Then, with two outs, Curt Smith delivered a soft liner to right field to plate Ibarra for the first run of the contest.
Sioux Falls answered in the bottom of the first inning. Saltdogs starter Robby Rowland appeared to retire the side in order after striking out the third batter, but catcher’s obstruction was called and gave first base to Ty Morrison. Two walks later, Morrison scored on a botched throw during a double steal to tie the game.
The teams traded runs again in the second inning. The Saltdogs scored a run on a two-out double by Dashenko Ricardo while the Canaries took advantage of a couple of walks to score without needing a hit.
The tie was broken in the bottom of the third inning. Chris Jacobs doubled and Burt Reynolds singled him home in the next at bat to make it 3-2. Rowland was pulled after just three innings.
The Saltdogs tied the game in the top of the fifth. Matty Johnson singled to start the frame and stole second base. After advancing to third on a fly ball, Johnson scored on Smith’s second RBI single of the game.
The only frame that saw more than one run scored was the bottom of the sixth. Sioux Falls notched three runs on three hits and a wild pitch to take a decisive 6-3 lead. Patrick Fiala and Dan Motl had key extra-base hits in the three-run outburst.
The Saltdogs mounted a comeback in the top of the ninth against Canaries closer Jose Ortega. Ricardo walked and Ibarra singled to begin the inning. Valera singled home one run following a fly out. The tying run was at first base and Brandon Jacobs lifted a fly ball that was caught just short of the right field fence for the final out. Ortega notched his 13th save by retiring the side.
Valera extended his on-base streak to 21 games with his ninth inning single. Cesilio Pimentel and Dimitri Kourtis each pitched two scoreless innings of relief for Lincoln.
The Saltdogs and Canaries square off in game two on Saturday night. First pitch at the Birdcage is at 7:05 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
The Saltdogs return home on Sunday, July 30th to face the St. Paul Saints. 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.