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Winnipeg Beats Sioux City, Handily

WINNIPEG, MB. – The Winnipeg Goldeyes are now just one game out of first-place in the North Division of the American Association.

On Thursday night at Shaw Park, the Goldeyes belted five home runs – including a monstrous grand slam by David Bergin – and got another shutout performance from left ace Kevin McGovern, as Winnipeg ripped the visiting Sioux City Explorers 12-0.

What a week it’s been for the Goldeyes. After struggling on the road late in June and early in July, the Goldeyes have suddenly become the hottest team in the league. With Thursday’s win, the Fish outscored the Xs 37-4 in their three-game series sweep and they have now won four straight, six of their last seven, eight of their last 10 and 10 of their last 13.

They are now 29-23 on the season and more importantly, they are alone in second place in the American Association’s North Division and after the first-place St. Paul Saints lost to Sioux Falls at home yesterday (the Saints fourth straight loss), the Goldeyes are now just one games out of first with six games left on this nine-game home-stand.

Playing in front of 3,492 fans at Shaw Park in downtown Winnipeg, the Goldeyes scored six runs in the first and five more in the third to take a quick 11-0 lead. They added another run in the sixth and that was more than enough for McGovern.

The Goldeyes starter (7-2, with a league-leading 2.32 ERA) was brilliant once again on Thursday, allowing no runs on just three hits with seven strikeouts and two walks over seven complete innings of work. Canadian Even Rutckyj and Kenny Mathews each pitched a hitless, scoreless inning to put it away.

“We got a really good start from Kevin,” Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney told the CJNU post-game show. “We’re a pretty good offensive team in the first inning this year. It’s an area we’re strong in for some reason. They made a mistake in the middle of the plate with Bergin, and Kevin and the offence took it from there. We’re swinging the bat really well, but the big thing is that we got really good starting pitching from this series. Everyone is attacking the zone early and expanding it when we get ahead.”

Explorers starter Kramer Sneed (2-2, 7.21 ERA) gave up 12 runs on 13 hits and was tagged with the loss.

This one was over early. Andrew Sohn led off the bottom of the first with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Explorers’ catcher Daniel Jackson. David Rohm hit a bloop double to score Sohn, Reggie Abercrombie ripped a line drive single to send Rohm to third, Shawn Pleffner walked to load the bases and then Bergin crushed a grand slam home run to left that gave the Goldeyes a 5-0 lead. The home run stretched Bergin’s career-high hitting streak to 16 games, and was the Goldeyes’ first grand slam of the season. Two batters later, Mason Katz slugged a long solo home run down the left field line.

In the third, the Goldeyes put up five more, and featured a solo bomb by Abercrombie and a three-run shot by Mason Katz.

The Goldeyes outhit the opposition for a seventh straight game, this time 15-3. Rohm went one-for-five with a run scored and an RBI and extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Josh Romanski went three-for-five with an RBI and is now hitting .332. Bergin went one-for-three with two runs scored and four RBI on the first-inning grand slam and is now hitting .322. Wes Darvill went two-for-four with a run scored and is now hitting a team-leading .357. Sohn went three-for-five with two runs scored and an RBI and is now hitting .305. Abercrombie went two-for-five with two runs scored and an RBI and Katz went two-for-three with two runs scored and four driven in.

The Goldeyes open a three-game series against the Kansas City T-Bones at Shaw Park on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Zach Nuding (2-6, 6.34) will get the dstart for Winnipeg while right-hander Calvin Drummond (3-1, 4.28) will take the ball for Kansas City.

If you don’t have a ticket, all the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU.

Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports

Photos by Dan LeMoal

Editor of the popular Game On Hockey Magazine and The Point After Football Magazine, editor of Canadian Meat Business Magazine, sports editor of Grassroots News, TV play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and author of the bestselling book: The Winnipeg Jets: A Celebration of Professional Hockey in Winnipeg. He likes virgin pina coladas, long walks on the beach, puppies and thoroughbred race horses that run according to form.
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