Gary, IN – The Sioux Falls Canaries held on to beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats, 8-7, Thursday night at the U.S. Steel Yard.
After scoring just one run over the first 18 innings of the series against the RailCats, the Birds took the early lead with two runs on three hits in the top of the second inning.
Chris Jacobs led off the frame with a single and moved to third on Tyler Wolfe’s one-out single one batter later. Blake Schmit followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in the first run of the game for the Canaries before Brett Marr drove in another run with a RBI single to give the Birds a 2-0 lead.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as Joe Bircher’s issues with the long-ball came back to haunt him in the bottom of the third.
Bircher had allowed 13 home runs coming into Thursday’s start against the RailCats, and Chase Harris’ two-run homer off Bircher, his 14th allowed this season, tied the game at two.
In total, four-straight batters reached against Bircher to lead off the bottom of the fourth as the RailCats took a 3-2 lead against Sioux Falls.
Bircher settled down with a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth inning before the Canaries took the lead in the top of the fifth.
Marr led off the fifth with a double and came around to score on Burt Reynolds’ RBI Single. Jabari Henry followed with a two-run homer, his 21st of the season, to give the Birds a 5-3 lead.
The RailCats cut the Canaries lead with a run in the bottom of the inning on Cameron Newell’s RBI single, and knocked Bircher out with his shortest start of the season.
Bircher allowed four runs on eight hits over just 4.2 innings pitched and was relieved by Dylan Thompson with two-on and two-out in the bottom of the fifth.
Thompson got out of the jam with a strikeout of Frank Martinez, keeping the Birds’ lead at one.
And after another scoreless inning of relief from Thompson, the Canaries extended their lead with another crooked inning.
Wolfe’s two-run triple capped off a three-run inning for the Birds, all coming with two outs against Ryan Fritze in the top of the seventh. Wolfe finished the day a home run shy of the cycle, 3-for-5 with a single, double, triple, run scored and three RBI.
Gary SouthShore, though, came right back with back-to-back sacrifice flies with the bases loaded to cut the Birds’ four-run lead in half to 8-6.
The RailCats went in order in the bottom of the eighth, while the Canaries went scoreless in the eighth and ninth before Jose Ortega came out for the bottom of the ninth trying to nail down the save in his second inning of work.
Ortega allowed a leadoff single but retired three of the next four batters to end the threat and give the Birds an 8-7 victory.
Thompson picks up the win and Ortega earns the save for the Canaries who move to 38-44 with the victory. Costa takes the loss for the RailCats, who fall to 46-36 on the year.
The Canaries return to The Birdcage Friday night, Aug. 18 to open three-game series against the Salina Stockade. LHP Bo Hellquist (2-1, 3.07 ERA) will take the mound for the Canaries in game one of the three-game set against Salina on Friday night.
Gates open at 6:00 PM Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. And be sure to stick around after the game for the second-to-last Friday Night All-Star Fireworks display of the season, presented by our friends at the Orthopedic Institute and Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital.
For information on single-game tickets, contact the Canaries Ticket Office at (605) 336-6060 or visit sfcanaries.com for more information.