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T-Bones bullpen unable to hold Saltdogs

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Kansas City T-Bones held a lead most of Thursday night until the Lincoln Saltdogs scored seven runs in the seventh and went on to win 11-7 at Haymarket Park.

The T-Bones jumped ahead early against Lincoln starter Matt Larkins with four runs in the first two innings. In the first, after Brett Wiley singled and Tyler Massey doubled, Jake Blackwood brought in Wiley with a sacrifice fly to center for the second out of the inning. In the second, the T-Bones added three against Larkins starting with an RBI single by Dalton Wheat that scored Vladimir Frias, who led off the inning by reaching on an error by shortstop Dainer Moreira. After Tyson Gillies singled, Wiley got his second hit of the game, this time an RBI double that scored Wheat. Massey walked, loading the bases, for Blackwood, who got another sacrifice fly to center field and gave the T-Bones a 4-0 lead.

With the way T-Bones starter Josh Hodges pitched last week, en route to being selected as the league’s Pitcher of the Week, four runs would be plenty. But Hodges wasn’t quite as sharp, scattering seven hits and walking five in 5 innings. After giving up a run in the third inning, which cut Kansas City’s lead to 4-1, Hodges gave up two runs in the fourth. With runners at first and second with two outs, Connor Teykl knocked in Tyler Urps with a base hit. The next batter, former Kansas City outfielder Robby Kuzdale, doubled, bringing in Jon Smith. That cut Kansas City’s lead to 4-3. Kuzdale ended the night with two hits, three walks, two RBIs and two runs scored.

The T-Bones used three extra-base hits in the fifth to get two runs back. Massey led off the inning with a double before Anthony Gallas brought him in with a triple. Two batters later, with two outs, Frias doubled and scored Gallas, putting Kansas City ahead, 6-3.

After the Saltdogs added a run in the bottom of the fifth against Hodges, it was up to the T-Bones’ bullpen to secure the lead, which was fine until the seventh. Lincoln sent 11 to the plate in the seventh and came away with seven runs against Kansas City pitchers Evan DeLuca and Aaron Baker. DeLuca (2-2), who worked out of a Brett Zawacki jam in the sixth by getting Smith to strikeout, gave up a leadoff single to Moreira, a double to Austin Darby and then walked Teykl, loading the bases in the seventh. Baker relieved DeLuca and promptly walked Kuzdale, bringing in a run. The next batter, Luis Alen, gave the Saltdogs their first lead at 7-6 with a double that scored Darby and Teykl. Lincoln would add four more runs and take an 11-6 lead.

Kansas City didn’t go away quietly. In the ninth, the T-Bones got Massey and Nate Tenbrink (single) on first and second with two outs, allowing Frias to get his second RBI double of the night, scoring Massey. But the night was finished after Brian Erie lifted a ball to left that was caught for the final out.

After winning their previous four series heading into this 10-game road trip, the T-Bones have lost consecutive series for the first time since June 14-19 against Wichita and Laredo. Kansas City went 4-6 on this trip.

Kansas City (26-33) starts a six-game home stand on Friday night, with a 7:05 game against Winnipeg (32-26). Tickets are available by calling the Providence Medical Center Box Office at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 913-328-5618.



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