Luis Paula tossed a quality start and Marcus Lemon and Cedric Hunter had four hits each as the Kansas City T-Bones (54-40) beat the Sioux City Explorers (42-52) Wednesday night at Mercy Field at Lewis and Clark Park.
Kansas City took the lead 1-0 off left Hobbs Johnson in the top of the first with an RBI single from Marcus Lemon to score Cedric Hunter, who led off the game with a double. The X’s would come back to take the lead in the second with an RBI single from Dre Gleason and a sacrifice fly from Eudor Garcia to take a 2-1 lead off T-Bones starter Luis Paula.
Paula would then shut down the X’s, tossing four scoreless innings keeping the game 2-1 until the T-Bones offense could get untracked. They would do just that in the top of the fifth inning.
Zane Chavez, Tucker Pennell and Cedric Hunter each reached on base hits to load the bases. Marcus Lemon then singled to left to tie the game at two.
Kevin Keyes then stepped up to the plate and hit a deep fly to center field that Sioux City center fielder Tony Campana apparently lost in the lights.
The ball landed behind him to the left about 10 yards from wall. That scored three runs and gave the T-Bones a 5-2 lead with Keyes racing to third with a bases clearing triple.
In the top of the sixth Chantz Mack led off the inning with a solo homer to right off Johnson to make it 6-2 Kansas City.
With two out Tucker Pennell reached on a single and the red-hot Cedric Hunter would double him around for a 7-2 lead. Marcus Lemon then followed with an RBI single to up the score to 8-2.
Jackson Lowery worked two scoreless innings while Grant Side closed out the ninth for Kansas City.
Paula (7-2) held Sioux City to just four hits in getting the win, while the loss went to Johnson (3-9). It was the fourth start for Paula, who has worked 24 innings as a starter with a 3-0 record and a 1.88 ERA.
With the win Kansas City stayed tied with Fargo-Moorhead, who beat Lincoln Wednesday, in the race for the American Association Wild Card playoff spot with five games left to play.
Gary also won over Sioux Falls putting the RailCats one game behind the leaders. Lincoln still maintains a magic number of two over Kansas City for the Central Division and a 3.5 game lead over the T-Bones.
The T-Bones play their last regular season road game Thursday night in Iowa at 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on the T-Bones Broadcast Network.
Kansas City will start right-hander Matt Sergey (5-3, 3.23) while Sioux City will counter with right-handed pitcher Justin Vernia (2-2, 7.30).
The T-Bones return home for their final home stand Friday night to open a four-game series with the St. Paul Saints.
Tickets for home games are available online, by calling 913-328-5618, or by visiting in person the Providence Medical Center Box Office.
– Story from T-Bones