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Kansas City blasts Joplin

Kansas City hit three home runs Saturday, including a grand slam by Jake Blackwood, in an 11-1 win at Joplin. (File photo by John Ellis.)
07/16/2016 10:09 PM -

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Kansas City T-Bones hit three home runs, including a grand slam by Jake Blackwood, en route to an 11-1 win over the Joplin Blasters on Saturday night at Joe Becker Stadium.

The T-Bones jumped ahead early, with two runs in the top of the first against Joplin starter Isaac Hess (0-1). After the first two batters, Tyson Gillies and Dalton Wheat, each reached with a single, Blackwood roped a double to left that scored Gillies. On the play, the ball was mishandled by second baseman Mitch Glasser, which allowed Wheat to score.

Although those two runs were all the T-Bones would need, Kansas City erupted for a six-run fourth inning. Vladimir Frias led off the inning with the first of Kansas City’s three home runs in the game. The T-Bones didn’t stop there. After Brian Erie reached on a fielder’s choice, Sergio Leon doubled, moving Erie to third. Erie scored when the next batter, Tyson Gillies, grounded into the fielder’s choice. Starlin Rodriguez followed with a walk that loaded the bases for Blackwood. On a 3-1 count, Blackwood lined the ball over the left-field wall for a grand slam, his ninth homer of the season that also ties him for the team lead. The grand slam, which gave the T-Bones an 8-0 lead, was Kansas City’s first grand slam since Jacob Hayes’ inside-the-park grand slam last September.

T-Bones’ starting pitcher Josh Hodges, whom Kansas City acquired from Joplin on July 7, was fantastic against his former teammates. Hodges (3-4) gave up four hits and one run, while walking one and striking out five in 7 innings. His only blemish came in the sixth inning, when Charlie Valerio smacked a solo home run to right field. Johnny Shuttlesworth pitched the final two innings, allowing only one baserunner.

The T-Bones added to their lead in the fifth with their third home run of the game. This one came off the bat of Leon — who’s on his second stint this season with Kansas City, sandwiching time with Joplin — and scored Erie, who reached on a double. It’s Leon’s third homer of the season, but first with the T-Bones.

Kansas City (25-30) and Joplin (17-37) are scheduled to conclude their three-game series Sunday evening at 6:05. All of the action can be heard online at