SCOTT UNGER, Winnipeg Goldeyes
Photos by JEFF MILLER, MyToba.ca

In the twilight of August, the best to way to hurl yourself faster toward a playoff spot is to just keep winning.

The Winnipeg Goldeyes (54-33) did exactly that Monday night by defeating the Can-Am League’s New Jersey Jackals (47-36) 6-4 before 4,887 fans at Shaw Park.

The victory, which is Winnipeg’s seventh in their last eight games, shrunk their magic number to clinch the American Association’s North Division to seven. It also maintained the Goldeyes’ eight-game lead over the St. Paul Saints in the North.

After the Goldeyes started the scoring with single runs in the first two innings, the Jackals took a 3-2 lead with three runs on three hits in the top of the fourth inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Goldeyes answered. With one out, Casey Haerther doubled and Reggie Abercrombie reached base on an error by Jackals shortstop Steve Nikorak. Donnie Webb then singled in Haerther and Abercrombie scored on a sac fly from Josh Mazzola. Luis Alen finished the three-run inning with single to score Webb.

The two-run lead was short-lived, as Jeremy Barnes hit a lead-off home run off Goldeyes starter Matt Jackson in the top of the sixth.

The Goldeyes added a run in the bottom of the eighth when Abercrombie doubled and scored on a Mazzola single.

From there, closer Chris Kissock locked it down in the bottom of the ninth.

Abercrombie led Winnipeg at the plate with three hits, while Mazzola had a team-best two RBI. The Goldeyes actually had plenty of opportunities to extend their margin of victory, but stranded 14 men on base in the game, including at least one in every inning.

Jackson battled for 5 2/3 innings to post his 10th win of the season. He gave up four runs — three were earned — and struck out two. Kissock fanned three Jackals in the ninth, and worked around a hit and an error, for his 15th save of the season.

New Jersey starter Anthony Ferrara suffered the loss after giving up five runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The second game of the three-game series goes Tuesday night at Shaw Park. Ethan Hollingsworth (6-1, 4.10) will take the ball for Winnipeg against New Jersey’s Eric Smith (0-0, 2.25).

Tickets for all Goldeyes games are available through Ticketmaster by clicking on Ticketmaster.ca, calling 1-855-GOLDEYE or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the Shaw Park box office.

Boxscore

American Association North Division standings

Team W L Pct GB Streak Last 10
Winnipeg Goldeyes 54 33 .621 3W 7-3
St. Paul Saints 45 40 .529 8 1W 1-9
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 38 49 .437 16 2L 3-7
Sioux Falls Canaries 29 58 .333 25 2L 3-7

Post-game reaction