The Sioux Falls Canaries jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Winnipeg on Monday, but the Goldeyes mounted a comeback to slip away with a walk-off win.
Matt McCann hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, to break a 4-4 tie and give the Goldeyes the 5-4 victory in the series opener from Shaw Park.
The Birds took an early lead in the first inning when Dan Motl hit a leadoff home run off of Winnipeg starter Kevin McGovern. It was Motl's second pro home run after he had homered one at-bat earlier in the ninth inning of Sunday's game.
Former Goldeye David Bergin followed the homer up with an RBI double, scoring Blake Schmit. The Birds led 2-0 after one.
The Canaries used a pair of leadoff triples to extend their lead. Motl hit a three-bagger in the third, scoring on a ground ball from Jordan Smith
Jordan Dean knocked a triple of his own in the fifth inning, crossing the plate on a groundout from Patrick Fiala one batter later, giving the Birds a four-run lead.
Canaries starter Joe Bircher grinded through 5.2 innings, stranding 10 Winnipeg runners through his first five innings of work. He allowed his only run on a Matt McCann RBI single in the sixth.
Birds manager Mike Meyer pulled Bircher from the game one batter later, and Miles Nordgren worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to keep the Birds' lead at 4-1.
McGovern worked seven solid innings for Winnipeg, allowing four runs on seven hits. He struck out nine without walking a batter.
Winnipeg would strike again in the seventh off Nordgren. The Goldeyes put men on the corners with one out. Winnipeg catcher Tyler Baker drove in Josh Mazzola with a single, making it 4-2 Sioux Falls.
Nordgren then struck out Tucker Nathans, bringing up McCann with two on. With Kyle Schepel ready to go in the bullpen, Meyer left Nordgren in the game to face McCann.
McCann hit a two-run triple, tying the game at 4. Schepel then entered the game, getting Josh Romanski to ground out to end the inning.
The Birds had a rally snuffed out in the eighth. After a leadoff single by Motl, Jordan Smith lined into a 6-3 double play.
Adamant that Motl had reached first in time, Smith was ejected while arguing the call by first-base umpire Joey Stegner.
The game remained tied in the ninth, and Schepel gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases for McCann with one out. With the Birds' infield in, McCann hit a single down the right-field line to give Winnipeg a 5-4 win.
The Birds and Goldeyes have a quick turnaround ahead, with game two of the series set for 11 a.m. Kevin Folman will start for the Canaries; the Goldeyes have not named a starter. Birds fans can listen to the game on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN or online at kwsn.com.