T-Bones end three-game slide with 5-2 win

Starting pitcher Tommy Collier (5-3) led the Kansas City T-Bones (34-20) past the St. Paul Saints (31-24) to avoid a four-game sweep in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon at T-Bones Stadium.

Collier pitched eight innings giving up two runs on five hits and striking out a season-high 10 batters. The T-Bones tallied up five runs on eight hits to outlast the often-resilient Saints with a final score of 5-2.

The T-Bones wasted no time, jumping out to an early 1-0 lead on the Saints after a two-out solo home run by Colin Walsh.

Kansas City kept its foot on the gas in the third inning, starting with a lead-off walk by Tucker Pennell. After Dylan Tice hit into a fielder’s choice Pennell was out at second, leaving Tice at first.

Walsh forced a walk to put runners on first and second for Nick Torres, who hit a ground-rule double, scoring Tice. Noah Perio Jr. continues to have an impact on this ball club, hitting an RBI double that allowed Walsh and Torres to score. The T-Bones took a 4-0 lead into the fourth inning.

The T-Bones’ four-run lead took a hit in the sixth inning, stemming from a one-out single down the third base line by Max Murphy.

The next at bat, Kyle Barrett struck a well-hit ball to right field that sent Murphy to third to put runners at the corners. Burt Reynolds quickly struck out for out number two, putting the pressure on Brady Shoemaker to deliver for St. Paul. On the third pitch of the at bat, Shoemaker crushed a double to left field, scoring Murphy from third and a hustling Barrett from first. The Saints cut into the T-Bones lead 4-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, Perio Jr. started off the inning with a single to left field. One batter later, Keith Curcio mimicked Perio Jr. hitting another single to left field to put runners on first and third.

The T-Bones tacked on another run thanks to a Dexter Kjerstad fielder’s choice that allowed Perio Jr. to score. Kansas City extended its lead to 5-2 over St. Paul.

Collier and Kevin Hill secured the win for the T-Bones pitching scoreless seventh, eighth, and ninth frames. Kansas City went on to win by a final score of 5-2. Collier was credited as the winning pitcher. Kevin Hill was credited with the save.

The T-Bones broke a three-game slide against the Saints. Kansas City improves to 34-20 on the season and regains sole possession of second place in the South Division with a half-game lead over the Wichita Wingnuts.

St. Paul drops to 31-24 on the season, hanging on to a half -game lead for first place in the North Division over the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks.

The T-Bones hit the road for a three-game series against the Cleburne RailRoaders starting Monday, July 16, at 7:05 p.m.

Individual tickets, season, group, mini-plans and nightly party suites are on sale and can be purchased by visiting the box office at T-Bones Stadium or www.tbonesbaseball.com. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The T-Bones’ games are airing on the T-Bones Broadcast Network, http://mixlr.com/t-bones-baseball/.

– Story from T-Bones


Sporting KC drops close contest to Red Bulls, 3-2

Sporting Kansas City fell 3-2 to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night in New York in a riveting rematch of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.

Bradley-Wright Phillips and Johnny Russell traded early goals before a Roger Espinoza thunderbolt vaulted the visitors ahead six minutes into the second half.

The Red Bulls rallied behind substitute Marc Rzatkowski, who bagged two long-range strikes in the space of seven minutes to give New York a narrow victory at Red Bull arena.

The result sees Sporting KC (9-5-6, 33 points) and New York (11-5-2, 35 points) retain third place in their conferences.

Manager Peter Vermes’ 300th regular season match in charge of Sporting KC drew an end to the club’s three-game winning streak over the Red Bulls, who had suffered a 2-1 defeat in the U.S. Open Cup Final last September at Children’s Mercy Park.

Two of Sporting KC’s four lineup changes from last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Toronto FC came in central defense. Emiliano Amor and Graham Smith entered the fray in place of injured duo Ike Opara and Matt Besler – the latter of whom was a gameday scratch due to back spasms.

Elsewhere, Espinoza and forward Daniel Salloi returned after serving one-game red card suspensions while Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal and Diego Rubio dropped to the bench.

Saturday also marked the return of Sporting KC midfielder Felipe Gutierrez – the MLS Player of the Month for March – who logged his first appearance since April 20 after overcoming a sports hernia injury.

The hosts took just four minutes to land the first punch, taking a 1-0 advantage when Wright-Phillips gathered a through ball from Kaku and chipped neatly past Tim Melia for his 12th MLS goal of the season and his eighth career tally against Sporting KC in all competitions.

Kaku earned his league-leading 11th assist on the play as Sporting KC conceded their second-earliest goal of 2018.

A frantic start saw Sporting KC restore parity in the eighth minute. Homegrown defender Jaylin Lindsey lofted a diagonal ball from the left channel to the right side of the box, where Graham Zusi settled the pass and drove a low cross back into the center of a crowded penalty area.

Russell was on hand to steer a simple finish into the gaping net for his team-best seventh MLS goal and his second in as many games.

Lindsey registered his first assist in a Sporting KC uniform, becoming the youngest player in club history to assist a goal at 18 years and 109 days.

Both sides exchanged near misses before the 15-minute mark as an enthralling spectacle continued to unfold.

Kaku sent Wright-Phillips on a galloping run behind the Sporting KC defense, but the Englishman’s left-footed effort flashed wide of Melia’s left-hand post.

Shortly thereafter, Salloi picked off a lazy back pass from New York defender Tim Parker and rounded goalkeeper Luis Robles on the breakaway, but the 21-year-old’s angle became too tight to shoot. Salloi instead pulled the ball back for Gerso Fernandes, whose shot from the edge of the 18 was blocked.

Wright-Phillips asked further questions of Sporting KC’s backline in the 22nd minute, sending a low ball across the face of goal that a lunging Amor hammered behind for a corner kick.

The Red Bulls striker threatened again seven minutes before halftime, smashing a one-time shot just over the bar from a tight angle off Alex Muyl’s teasing cross.

At the opposite end, Lindsey cushioned a cross-field service from Espinoza to the feet of Croizet at the top of the box in the 35th minute. The Frenchman’s shot was blocked and the ball fell to Fernandes who went down under Parker’s clumsy challenge, but referee Kevin Stott waved play to continue.

Russell then drove at the New York defense and curled a left-footed strike inches wide with Robles rooted to the turf.

Espinoza fired Sporting KC ahead six minutes after the restart. Zusi roamed down the right flank and held the ball patiently near the endline prior to playing backwards to Espinoza.

The Honduran was afforded space from 25 yards out and unleashed a seething rocket that screamed past Robles and into the roof of the net. The stunning goal was Espinoza’s first of the season and gave Zusi the seventh multi-assist game of his decade-long MLS career.

The visitors were unsatisfied with their 2-1 lead and searched for more near the hour mark, but Salloi’s half volley off a looping cross from Croizet sailed high and wide.

The Red Bulls responded with a dangerous opportunity on 68 minutes. Tyler Adams slipped a through ball to Wright-Phillips who had snuck behind the defense, but Melia raced off his line and forced the attacker to pass back to Adams.

The resulting shot was strewn wide but almost directed goalward by Derrick Etienne near the six-yard area.

New York was not denied an equalizer on their next foray forward. Adams overlapped down the right wing and rolled a low cross to Rzatkowski, who sent a daisy cutter into the left corner to open his MLS scoring account and level terms at 2-2.

Saturday’s end-to-end contest continued to enthrall in the late stages, with Zusi and Red Bulls midfielder Daniel Royer both coming close only to be thwarted by the goalkeeper.

These opportunities came just before the 79th minute, when Rzatkowski bagged his second sensational goal of the night with a 25-yard piledriver into the top left corner.

A quick turnaround awaits for a Sporting KC side that resumes its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title defense on Wednesday against rivals Houston Dynamo.

The quarterfinal showdown is set for 7:30 p.m. at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, marking the fourth straight year the rivals have met in the U.S. Open Cup.

SportingKC.com will stream the match live as Vermes’ men aim to capture their fourth Open Cup title in seven seasons and the club’s fifth overall.

– Story from Sporting KC


Seven-run inning for St. Paul seals loss for T-Bones

In just one inning, the Kansas City T-Bones gave up a five-run lead and the St. Paul Saints came away with a 10-8 win at T-Bones Stadium in Kansas City, Kansas.

The loss is the third straight for the T-Bones, who remain in second place in the league with a 33-20 season record.

Like Friday evening, the Saints gained an early-game lead. In the first inning, Kyle Barrett reached base on a fielder’s choice, then Burt Reynolds, the third batter up for St. Paul, smacked a two-run home run over the left-center field fence into the St. Paul bullpen.

The hit, off T-Bones starting pitcher Barrett Astin (6-2, 5.27), was Reynolds’ 13th RBI of the season and gave the Saints a 2-0 lead.

But the lead didn’t last long as the T-Bones answered back with speed in the bottom of the first.

Starting pitcher Ryan Zimmerman (1-1, 4.69) walked the lead-off batter Dylan Tice.

His walk was quickly followed by a shot deep down the right field line by Todd Cunningham, who leads the league with a .384 average.

That hit allowed Tice to score from first, and as Cunningham was racing toward third the relay man overthrew third, allowing him to come home and even the game 2-2.

In the bottom of the second, Kansas City increased their assault on St. Paul with a huge five-run inning.

Mason Davis was hit by a pitch, followed by a right field single by Tice which sent the speedy Davis to third. With one out and runners at the corners, Cunningham lined to right center, sending Davis home.

The hit was the 23rd RBI for Cunningham this season. With Tice at third, an RBI sacrifice fly to left field by Colin Walsh made the score 4-2.

Then, Nick Torres hit a towering two-run home run into the Saints’ bullpen, making the score 6-2 Kansas City.

Noah Perio Jr. walked and was followed by an Adrian Nieto double to the warning track just outside the St. Paul bullpen, which sent Perio home and made the score 7-2.

However, it was a painful fourth for the Kansas City as St. Paul came back to score seven runs off starting pitcher Barrett Astin, who had retired seven of the last eight prior to that inning.

It started with a walk to Reynolds, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch to Brady Shoemaker. Back-to-back walks put Shoemaker on first.

With no outs, Astin, with his third straight walk of the inning, put former T-Bone Zach Walters on first to load the bases.

Dante Bichette Jr. then singled to left field despite a diving attempt by center fielder Cunningham, allowing Reynolds to score.

Astin went on to walk Nathaniel Maggio, which brought home Shoemaker for the sixth Saints run of the game. Zach Walters scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Anthony Phillips, making the score 7-5.

Max Murphy then singled to left field to once again load the bases, followed by a Kyle Barrett single up the middle that scored two runs and tied the score. Burt Reynolds lined into left center to score yet another run and give St. Paul the lead 8-7.

Brady Shoemaker, the 11th batter of the inning, hit a ground-rule double to right field to score Barrett and make the score 9-7.

With two outs in the fourth, recent T-Bones addition Ian Hardman came in for relief. And a relief it was as Hardman struck out Walters to finally put an end to the inning.

Marcus Crescentini came in the top of the eighth, giving up a double to St. Paul’s Barrett, who was then driven home with an RBI single by Shoemaker, making the score 10-7.

The T-Bones loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth as Keith Curcio reached on a fielder’s choice, Dexter Kjerstad singled and Mason Davis lined a single to left to keep the line moving.

With one out, a sacrifice fly to left by Tice scored Curcio, bringing the T-Bones a step closer to re-gaining the lead, with the score 10-8. But Kansas City left two on base going into the ninth.

The T-Bones weren’t able to gain any more traction and St. Paul defeated the Kansas City with a final score of 10-8.

Kansas City wraps up a four-game series with St. Paul on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Individual tickets, season, group, mini-plans and nightly party suites are on sale and can be purchased by visiting the box office at T-Bones Stadium or www.tbonesbaseball.com. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The T-Bones’ games are airing on the T-Bones Broadcast Network, http://mixlr.com/t-bones-baseball/.

– Story from T-Bones