CLEBURNE, TX – The Lincoln Saltdogs smacked three home runs but lost 6-3 to the Cleburne Railroaders in the rubber match on Sunday night.
The loss snapped the Saltdogs’ (18-12) five-series winnings streak. It was the team’s first loss in a series finale this season.
Austin Robichaux picked up the loss despite going a season-high 6.1 innings. Jesus Sanchez earned the win in his first game with the Railroaders (12-17) and Shawn Blackwell collected his fourth save.
The Saltdogs built the early lead. Angel Reyes hit a solo shot in the second inning to start the scoring. It was his ninth long ball of the season, tying him with Brandon Jacobs for the league lead. Curt Smith belted a homer in the third and Brant Whiting went deep in the fourth to give Lincoln a 3-0 lead.
The offense dried up after that. The Saltdogs left six runners on base the rest of the night, including stranding a bases loaded-nobody out situation in the sixth.
Cleburne got going in the fourth inning. Chevy Clarke started the frame with a single and Cam Monger got a hit two batters later. Then, Angelo Gumbs hit a grounder to shortstop and Cesar Valera threw the ball into the outfield, allowing all runners to be safe. Blake Grant-Parks came through with a two-out single to drive in two more runs and tie the game 3-3.
They broke the tie in the sixth. Cameron Monger bombed a solo home run to make it 4-3.
The Railroaders added to their advantage in the seventh. With one runner on and two outs, Patrick Palmeiro hit a shallow fly ball that fell in front of Angel Reyes in center field knocking in the run and putting Palmeiro at second. Two batters later, Levi Scott drove him in to make it 6-3.
Injuries forced the Saltdogs to experiment with unique defensive alignments. Normal center fielder Chad Hinshaw wasn’t able to play and shortstop Ivan Marin got hurt stealing second base. Manager Bobby Brown played yesterday’s starting pitcher Kyle Kinman in right field to adjust for Marin’s absence. Dashenko Ricardo pinch hit for Kinman, forcing the normal catcher to play first base for the first time in his career. Nathaniel Maggio swapped between first base and right field throughout the game.
The Saltdogs went 4-3 over the seven-game road trip. The team returns to Lincoln for a series with the St. Paul Saints. First pitch on Monday night is at 6:45 PM with coverage starting at 6:15 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and saltdogs.com/stream.