LINCOLN – The Lincoln Saltdogs (45-25) scored six unanswered runs and notched a season-high 16 strikeouts to beat the Kansas City T-Bones (41-29) 6-3 on Saturday night.
Derek Gordon earned his team-high eighth win by holding the T-Bones to three runs over 5.1 innings. He struck out a season-high 10 batters compared to just two walks.
Kansas City started strong. Cedric Hunter belted the second pitch of the game over the right field fence to give the T-Bones the early lead.
They added to their lead in the third. Zane Chavez singled to start the inning and Hunter walked two batters later. Then, Marcus Lemon singled a run in to bring Kevin Keyes to the played. The T-Bones’ RBI-leader added to his total by knocking in Hunter with a single and making it 3-0.
Kansas City starter Gabe Perez was dominant through four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out six. That narrative changed in the fifth inning. The Saltdogs plated four runs on five hits including four doubles. Brent Dean and Ivan Marin ripped back-to-back two-baggers to start the inning. After Matty Johnson walk, Cesar Valera hit another double to knock in the second run. Then, Curt Smith singled in two more to give the Saltdogs the lead at 4-3. Nathaniel Maggio added a double that chased Perez from the game.
The Saltdogs supplied their pitchers with insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. The ‘Dogs loaded the bases with two outs for Randolph Oduber. The right fielder came through with a single through the left side to score two runs and make it a 6-3 game.
Cameron McVey, Casey Crosby and Michael Wagner combined to toss 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Gordon and the bullpen combined to hold Kansas City scoreless in the last six innings. Wagner earned his 14th save, tying him for the league-lead.
Crosby struck out two batters in a perfect eighth inning for his Saltdogs debut. It was the former Major-Leaguer’s first official outing since 2014. He was signed prior to the game.
Valera and Smith each extended their on-base streaks. Valera has reached in 29 straight games while Smith extended his streak to 25 games.
The game lasted three hours and 36 minutes to become the longest nine-inning home game of the season.
The win gave the Saltdogs a four-game lead over the T-Bones in the Central Divison. It also guaranteed a win in the season series, giving the Saltdogs the tiebreaker over the T-Bones.
The series finale is Sunday afternoon. First pitch is at 2:05 PM with coverage beginning at 1:35 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
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