The Kansas City T-Bones (54-42) knew that they needed to win to keep pace in the American Association Wild Card race before the game ever began Thursday night.
By the middle of the ball game if it could go wrong it did go wrong for Kansas City in a 9-1 loss to the Sioux City Explores (43-52) at Mercy Field at Lewis and Clark Park in Sioux City, Iowa. The loss dropped the T-Bones a game back in the chase for a playoff spot with four games to play.
It started out on a good foot for Kansas City taking an 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Paul Hendrix in the top of the second. Matt Sergey tossed two scoreless innings but fell and twisted his leg trying to make a play in the home half of the second.
Sergey came back out for the third but appeared to be favoring one leg over the other after the tumble he took in the second.
The X’s took advantage of the situation and scored a pair of unearned runs to take a lead. With one out Tony Campana walked and looked to be forced out at second but T-Bones shortstop Niko Vasquez throw to second went to right field to move Campana to third and with Michael Lang reaching first on the fielder’s choice.
Sergey got Levon Washington to pop out to short after Lang stole second. Tyler Ogle then delivered a two-out single to give Sioux City the lead they would never give up.
Sergey came back out for the fourth and surrendered an RBI single from Joel Davis and a fielder’s choice RBI from Michael Lang to make it 4-1. Sergey (5-4) was charged with the loss, giving up just two earned runs. Myles Smith came in for Kansas City in the fifth and worked a scoreless inning.
Kansas City did have chances with a leadoff double to start the game for Cedric Hunter and had the bases loaded with two outs and were only able to get one run in the second. Trailing 7-1, they had the bases loaded in the seventh with one out and could not close the gap.
Sioux City scored three more runs in the sixth off Rich Mascheri and another pair off Billy Waltrip in the eighth to make the score 9-1. The T-Bones could never solve true rookie Justin Vernia (3-2) who allowed just one run over seven innings with two walks and three strike outs. The right hander retired 10 straight T-Bones at one point in the game.
The loss was costly in the T-Bones quest for their first playoff appearance as members of the American Association.
Kansas City trails Fargo-Moorhead, who beat Lincoln earlier Thursday by a game, while Gary pulled even with the T-Bones with their extra inning win over Sioux Falls putting the RailCats essentially ahead of Kansas City due to the head-to-head tie breaker.
Lincoln still maintains a magic number of one over Kansas City and Gary for the Central Division and a 3.5 game lead with four to play.
The T-Bones return home for their final home stand Friday night to open a four-game series with the St. Paul Saints.
Tickets are available online, by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting in person the Providence Medical Center Box Office.
– Story from T-Bones