GOt thE SpLit
Goldeyes head home with a win in Wichita as Fish catch fire in the fifth inning
WICHITA, Kan. — A day after losing a series-opening slugfest, the Winnipeg Goldeyes proved they can do some pitching, too.
Holding the American Association’s highest-scoring team in check, the Goldeyes defeated the Wichita Wingnuts, 7-1, Thursday, evening the best-of-five league final at a game apiece.
The series switches to Winnipeg for the duration, as the Goldeyes chase a second straight title, which hasn’t been done in the AA in 11 years.
A five-run fifth inning and two home runs from Reggie Abercrombie, plus one from Casey Turgeon, highlighted the Fish attack, but pitching was the story.
Edwin Carl, who used to work out of the bullpen, shook off a challenging start to go six innings and pick up his first win as a post-season starter.
“I was thinking coming into this game it’s going to be another high-scoring affair,” Winnipeg manager Rick Forney said. “The wind’s blowing out, same conditions. It took us a while to get going offensively. Tip your cap to Edwin... he just kept making pitches.
“He bent a little bit, but didn’t break.”
Carl threw 56 pitches through two innings but allowed just one early run before settling down nicely, giving up six hits and striking out six.
“It’s huge,” Carl said of the win. “Everybody was kind of shocked after (Wednesday’s) game. I mean, Charle (Rosario) is a phenomenal pitcher, and for them to sneak that one out from us, we definitely wanted to come back and get a big win heading home.
“Everyone was locked in and confident we’d get that done.”
Carl was helped by an error-free defence, three double plays squelching potential trouble. Forney called it one of his team’s better overall games in some time.
“Bullpen did a fantastic job,” he said. “We played great defence, we ran the bases — just a nice bounce-back effort.”
Forney was able to use his bullpen exactly the way he likes to, inserting Mitchell Lambson to work a scoreless seventh, Victor Capellan an equally efficient eighth and closer Ryan Chaffee the ninth.
The Goldeyes spotted Wichita a 1-0 lead in the second inning, before exploding in typical Fish fashion in the fifth.
Shortstop and No. 9 hitter Andrew Sohn got things going by knocking in leadoff hitter Wes Darvill with a double.
Second baseman Turgeon followed up with his first home run in 23 games as a Goldeye.
“I got a good pitch over the middle of the plate,” Turgeon said. “That one I got a little extra. You’re kind of on the ropes there, tied 1-1. And then Reg came up a couple hitters after me and kind of sealed the deal there.”
After a Josh Romanski single, Abercrombie, showing no ill effects from a collision with the outfield wall a night earlier, belted a pitch over the same wall in straight centre, and it was 5-1.
When Shawn Pleffner, who’d been 0-for-6 in the series, singled, that marked the end of Wichita starter Alex Boshers, who’d been solid to that point.
In the big inning, Winnipeg sent nine men to the plate, posting six hits.
“We’ve got a lineup that pitchers obviously don’t want to face,” Turgeon said. “If the top of the lineup doesn’t get the job done... the other half will pick us up.”
The Goldeyes weren’t much kinder to Wingnuts reliever Tyler Kane, extending their lead to 6-1 on a Mason Katz walk, another Sohn double and a Turgeon walk, chasing the second Wichita pitcher.
Thrower No. 3, Seth Harvey, got David Rohm to hit into a double play, nipping trouble in the bud, but the damage had been done.
Goldeyes regular-season ace Kevin McGovern (13-3) will start Game 3, scheduled for Saturday night, hoping for a better start than his previous two playoff starts, from which he was chased, early.
“We have a long drive ahead of us,” Turgeon said of the 16-hour bus trip back to Manitoba. “Going onto the road with a win, everyone will be happy.”
Game 4 is set for Sunday, weather permitting, with a fifth game on Monday.
Casey Turgeon connects for his first homer as a Goldeye in the fifth inning in Wichita last night.