CLEBURNE, Texas -- Sometimes, a couple timely hits are all that separate two teams. That was the case for the Sioux Falls Canaries at Cleburne on Sunday night. Cleburne beat the Birds 5-2 to clinch a series win. All five runs scored with two out.
Alay Lago drove in both runs for Sioux Falls (31-41), including a solo home run in the sixth. Cleburne (43-29) jumped out to a 5-1 lead and hung on from there.
Sioux Falls scored first almost immediately. Lago brought Brett Vertigan in with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first inning.
Canaries starter Keaton Steele ran into trouble in the bottom half. Steele walked the first two batters he faced, and both scored on a two-out single from Zach Nehrir.
Cleburne extended their lead to 4-1 on a two-run double from Angel Reyes in the second, and an RBI single from Grant Buck in the third made it 5-1 Railroaders.
Steele left the game after four innings, the shortest start of his season. He allowed five runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out two.
Lago's homer, a sixth-inning moonshot, got the Birds to within three. It was Lago's 10th of the year. The Canaries would leave the bases loaded in the seventh and not score thereafter.
The series finale between Sioux Falls and Cleburne is set for Monday night at 7:05 p.m. Stephen Johnson is expected to pitch for Cleburne; Alex Boshers will get the ball for the Birds. Birds fans can tune in on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN.