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Irvine throws gem as T-Bones blank Explorers

09/01/2012 9:20 PM -

By Brian Bruce

SIOUX CITY, Iowa-  Liberty, Mo. native Luke Irvine was superb on Saturday night, throwing seven shutout innings as Kansas City topped Sioux City, 2-0, in the series-opener at Lewis and Clark Park.

Irvine (4-2) struck out 10 and walked only two in the win. He allowed only four hits and had only one runner advance as far as third base during his seven innings on the hill.

Kansas City untied the scoreless pitchers’ duel in the fifth on a sacrifice fly to center by Enrique Cruz, driving home Spiker Helms, who led off the inning with an infield single. The T-Bones made it 2-0 when Ray Sadler led off the sixth inning with his 16th homer of the year.

Reliever Sean Toler replaced Irvine for the eighth inning and promptly got into and then out of a lead-threatening jam. With one out and nobody on, Sioux City picked up back-to-back singles followed by a walk that loaded the bases. Toler, then facing clean-up hitter Jorge Delgado, who was hitting .416 through 21 games for Sioux City, induced a 5-3 double play when Helms made a pick on a high chopper, touched third for a force out, and then fired an off-balance throw to first that completed the inning-ending double play.

With the win, Kansas City (50-48) is guaranteed of at least a .500 season with two games remaining. Game two of the three-game series is set for a 6:05 p.m. on Sunday. The game can be heard on 1660-AM (the KMBZ Business Channel) or online at www.tbonesbaseball.com.