The Kansas City T-Bones entered Saturday night’s contest knowing if they kept winning they would control their own destiny for a post-season berth in the American Association Wild Card race.
The Saint Paul Saints behind right-hander Jason Hoppe played the role of spoiler in a 4-3 win in front of an energetic crowd of 5,104 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas.
The T-Bones took a 1-0 lead in the home half of the third inning off Hoppe. Tucker Pennell singled, then appeared to be doubled off first on a line drive out to second by Cedric Hunter, but St. Paul second baseman Mitch Delfino threw the ball away at first and Pennell raced for second.
Catcher Maxx Garrett, backing up the play, threw the ball away at second for the second error on the play, and Pennell moved on to third. Marcus Lemon then drove Pennell home on an infield single for the first run of the game.
From there the Saints starter Hoppe held the T-Bones offense in check, tossing four scoreless innings for St. Paul, scattering five hits with two walks and two strike outs, and giving up the one unearned run.
St. Paul took the lead in the top of the fourth on a Mitch Delfino single that scored two off T-Bones starter Alex Blackford. The Saints added another in the fifth on an RBI single from Dan Johnson, and it was 3-1.
The game stayed 3-1 until the top of the eighth when St. Paul got a huge insurance run.
Myles Smith walked the leadoff batter Brady Shoemaker then Dan Johnson followed with a single. Smith struck out Nate Hanson then hit Kes Carter with a pitch to load the bases.
Rich Mascheri came in for Smith and got the second out of the inning on a sacrifice fly from Mitch Delfino to give the Saints a 4-1 lead. That run proved to be big in the game as the T-Bones batted in the eighth.
With runners at second and third and two outs, Chantz Mack delivered an RBI single to cut the lead to 4-3, but that was as close as Kansas City got. In the ninth Ken Frosch worked around a two-out walk by striking out Marcus Lemon to end the game.
It was a hard luck quality start loss for Blackford (1-3) who went seven innings with 10 strike outs while Hoppe (1-3) got the win. The save was the first for Frosch.
The loss was again a tough one for Kansas City, with both Fargo-Moorhead and Gary winning their games, dropping Kansas City a game behind Fargo-Moorhead and tied with Gary with two games remaining in the season. The T-Bones won the tie breaker with Fargo but not with Gary.
The T-Bones and Saints will play game three of their four-game series Sunday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 7:05 p.m. Right-handed pitcher Jared Mortensen (8-1, 2.84) will take the hill for the T-Bones to face right-handed pitcher Ryan Zimmerman (7-7, 5.18) for St. Paul.
Tickets are available online, by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting in person the Providence Medical Center Box Office.
– Story from T-Bones