SIOUX FALLS, SD – The Lincoln Saltdogs (40-23) scored four runs on four hits in the top of the eighth inning to grab their first lead of the game and defeat the Sioux Falls Canaries (30-33) 8-4 on Friday night.
Shairon Martis earned the win in his first game back in a Saltdogs uniform. The right-hander through 1.2 hitless innings of relief. Saltdogs pitching combined to fan the Canaries 11 time including six strikeouts looking.
Dylan Thompson was charged with the loss after allowing four runs without recording an out in the eighth inning. The All-Star entered the game with a 1.71 ERA
Sioux Falls jumped ahead in the early part of the game. The first four runners reached in the bottom of the first inning for the Canaries. They generated three runs on three hits and two walks before starter Carlos Pimentel was able to get out of the side.
Pimentel was nails after the first inning. The righty sent down 14 straight batters before allowing a solo home run to Ty Morrison in the sixth. He retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced.
Meanwhile, the Saltdogs chipped into the Sioux Falls lead. Curt Smith scored on a Randolph Oduber sacrifice fly for the first Saltdogs run in the second inning. He scored again in the fourth. This time, the designated hitter came in on a wild pitch to make it 3-2.
The ‘Dogs pulled within one run again in the top of the seventh. Following the homer by Morrison, the first to Saltdogs hitters were retired in the seventh. Then, Brent Dean beat out an infield single, stole second base and moved to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Christian Ibarra knocked him in with a double off the wall pulling the Saltdogs to a one-run deficit.
The offense exploded against Thompson in the eighth. Cesar Valera tripled to start the frame and came in on a single by Smith. After a walk, Nathaniel Maggio continued the onslaught with a two-RBI double to right-center field. The rookie scored after Tommy Mendonca singled in the next at bat.
The Saltdogs tacked on another run in the ninth. Smith hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to complete the scoring and make it 8-4. The longest-tenured Saltdogs player was 1-3 with three runs, an RBI and a walk.
Cesar Valera extended his on-base streak to 22 games while three Saltdogs tallied multi-hit games. Lincoln is the first team to reach 40 wins in the American Association.
The Saltdogs and Canaries face off in the rubber match on Saturday night. First pitch at the Birdcage is at 6:05 PM with coverage beginning at 5:35 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.