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Saturday, July 28, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Six days ago, the Grand Prairie AirHogs scored three runs on a third of an inning to come back against Kansas City T-Bones reliever Steve Kent to complete a comeback win at QuikTrip Park. Saturday in Kansas City, the tables were turned, as the lefty was brought in with the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth inning and the T-Bones up by one – but he got a strikeout and a double play to quickly end the game and pick up the save, as Kansas City held on to beat the AirHogs 6-5.
The final inning began promisingly for Grand Prairie (40-27) when regular closer Mike Mehlich walked the first three hitters before Yasutsugu Nishimoto won a 13-pitch battle by singling through the left side to make it 6-5. But Kent was then summoned, striking out Keanon Simon on three pitches before David Thomas tapped a 1-1 pitch up the middle for a tailor-made 6-3 double play, with Devin Goodwin stepping on second and throwing to first to easily get Thomas on the fourth and final twin killing hit into by the AirHogs in the game.
Like the ninth inning, the first inning too had a good start for the AirHogs, as Simon, Thomas and Brian Myrow singled to bring in a run for the first time in 14 innings for the AirHogs against Kansas City starter Devin Anderson (5-5). But Andres Rodriguez struck out before Chris McMurray hit into a 6-4-3 double play, in what would prove to be an ominous foreshadowing of the ninth.
But the AirHogs got two more off Anderson in the second, while lefty Cody White (0-3) battled through the first four innings, allowing three hits and three walks but only one unearned run.
However, Grand Prairie’s Achilles heel, a big inning fueled by errors, reared its head a frame later. Brandon Jones reached to start it on an error by Nishimoto, before a double by Lee Cruz and singled by Ray Sadler and Trevor Coleman tied the game.
Derrick Miramontes then came on, and Enrique Cruz reached on a fielder’s choice out at second, before Pat Trettel popped out. But Devin Goodwin singled on a 1-2 pitch to give Kansas City (37-31) the lead. Then, with Spiker Helms batting, it appeared that McMurray had Goodwin picked off at first. But after Andres Rodriguez ran him towards second and threw, contact was made between Rodriguez and a turning Goodwin, and first base umpire Tim McCaffery awarded Goodwin second base on obstruction.
That led to a lengthy argument and AirHogs manager Ricky VanAsselberg’s eventual ejection by home plate umpire Steve Linton, and the T-Bones got the last laugh when Helms singled up the middle for two more runs.
Anderson breezed through the middle frames before giving up an unearned run in the seventh, and was pulled after 6 2/3 innings for the second start in a row. Brad Furnish got the next two outs before Sean Toler gave up a single but got a double play to end the eighth.
Notes: Each team had 10 hits…Only one of the T-Bones runs were earned…Kent picked up his first save of the year…McMurray tied former AirHog David Espinosa for the league record with his three double plays bounced into. Espinosa did it on July 22, 2011 in Amarillo…AirHogs pitching only had one 1-2-3 inning…The loss means that the AirHogs have not won a series in their last five tries.
The 2011 American Association Champion Grand Prairie AirHogs conclude their three-game series against the Kansas City T-Bones at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday, July 29. The next home game at QuikTrip Park is Friday, August 3, at 7:05 p.m. against the Laredo Lemurs. That night will feature a team card set giveaway, sponsored by Parkland Community Health Plan. All games are aired live and for free on Ustream by clicking on the link on the AirHogs’ home page or visiting http://www.ustream.tv/channel/airhogs-baseball with selected contests aired on Time Warner Cable’s Texas Channel. For information on tickets, promotions, advertising, and other opportunities with the AirHogs, check out the Web site at www.airhogsbaseball.com, or call the QuikTrip Park office at (972) 504-9383.