07/03/2005 11:03 PM - For the first time this season, the Kansas City T-Bones lost an extra-inning game. Sunday night, it was four unanswered runs by the Sioux City Explorers that sent the T-Bones up to Schaumburg with a foul taste in their mouths, as they dropped the final game of the series by a 5-4 margin.
With the loss, the T-Bones drop 1/2 game behind the St. Paul Saints, who had beaten the Sioux Falls Canaries earlier in the day, 15-2.
Kansas City scored two in the third and two in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead over Sioux City, which had gotten on the board first with an unearned run in the first inning when Cody Nowlin committed a two-base error on a Ryan Gripp single, allowing Marcel Longmire to score all the way from first.
The first-inning run was one of just three allowed by T-Bones starter Jon McDonald, who left the game in position to win his fourth game of the season having allowed three runs, two earned, in seven innings of work.
But reliever Caleb Balbuena allowed the tying run in the bottom of the ninth when Gripp doubled in Todd West, who had walked to lead off the inning.
Kansas City scored in the third on a two-run single by Greg Jacobs and in the fourth with the help of a Sean Flynn double to center that scored Brandon Jones and an Eric Vega sacrifice fly. But that was all the runs the T-Bones would muster, even though they had chances late in the game. Mike Brown tripled to start off the seventh inning, and four batters later Brandon Jones narrowly missed a three-run homer to left that would have given the T-Bones a five-run cushion. Kansas City would be held scoreless in the inning, and double plays in the eighth and ninth innings stifled T-Bone rallies.
The deciding run scored in the bottom of the tenth when a bases-loaded walk to Ryan Gripp forced in Ian Church, who had been hit by a pitch to lead off the inning by reliever Adam Clay (L, 0-1). Former T-Bone reliever John Howerton (W, 1-1), who retired Mike Brown with the bases loaded in the top of the tenth, got his first win for Sioux City.
Notes: Rick Prieto, who strained his hamstring yesterday, missed tonight's ballgame and is day-to-day... Sioux Falls, in their loss to St. Paul, used position players as pitchers for the final six innings... Matt Ceriani's hitting streak ended at six games as he was retired in his lone at-bat as a pinch hitter... the T-Bones are 3-1 in extra innings.