LINCOLN – The Lincoln Saltdogs (44-24) collected a season-high 11 walks and scored seven runs in the first inning to blow out the Kansas City T-Bones (40-28) 14-4 on Thursday night.
T-Bones starting pitcher Chris Perry struggled to find the strike zone, especially to start the game. He threw just one strike to the first four batters and walked in the first run of the game. The first out he recorded came on an RBI sacrifice fly by Tommy Mendonca. After that, Nathaniel Maggio hit a three-run homer and Brent Dean launched a two-run homer to establish a seven-run advantage for the Saltdogs.
Kansas City took advantage of 20 miles per hour winds out of the north to carry out two solo homers in the top of the second inning to make it 7-2.
The Saltdogs continued their scoring barrage in the bottom of the third inning. Perry hit the first batter of the inning with a pitch but retired the next two he faced. Then, the Saltdogs started to rake. Joe Robbins, Dean, Brandon Jacobs and Matty Johnson notched consecutive hits to plate four runs and make it 11-2.
Relief pitcher Luis Paula had difficulty throwing strikes as well. The Saltdogs drew four walks and got one hit to score three runs off Paula in the bottom of the fifth.
Saltdogs starting pitcher Carlos Pimentel was solid. He gave up two runs on three hits over five innings. He earned the win, tying Derek Gordon for the team-lead with seven victories.
The T-Bones scored a couple more runs in the eighth. Kyle Petty blasted a two-run homer, his second long ball of the game, to cut the score to 14-4.
The Saltdogs improved to 20 games over .500 and extended their division-lead to four games over KC. 4,265 fans watched a game that took three hours and 27 minutes, the longest nine-inning home game of the season.
Cesar Valera reached base four times to extend his on-base streak to 27 games. Curt Smith reached three times to move his streak to 23 games.
Dean went 4-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. He notched season-highs in hits, RBIs and runs while hitting his first home run of the year.
The win extended the Saltdogs’ division-lead to four games over Kansas City and 5.5 games over Gary SouthShore.
The Saltdogs and T-Bones play game two of the series on Friday. First pitch is at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
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