Matt Hall took the ball for the Kansas City Monarchs (1-0) in game one of the West Division Series and showed why he was named the starting pitcher on the American Association Post Season All-Star team. Hall (1-0) tossed seven innings of one hit shutout baseball as the Monarchs beat the Lincoln Saltdogs (0-1) 5-2 Wednesday night at Haymarket Park in Lincoln. With the win the Monarchs need one more win in the best of three game series to move on to the West Division Championship Series.
The Monarchs got on the board in the first inning with two outs on a solo home run from Ryan Grotjohn off Lincoln ace Greg Minier for a 1-0 lead. From there Minier (0-1) would scatter four hits until the seventh.
The Saltdogs would get a lead off single from Justin Byrd to start the game, but that would be the only hit Matt Hall would allow the rest of the way. After a two out walk in the third inning, Hall would retire the next 13 batters and leave the game after seven. The lefty would strikeout eight in his seven goose egg innings.
In the seventh the Monarchs would finally get to Minier. With one out, Jan Hernandez and Casey Gillaspie drew walks. Gio Brusa hit a smash to the keystone corner that turned into an infield single to load the way stations for Kansas City. Pete Kozma hit another smash to third that would ricochet into foul territory and down the left field line for a double to score two runs. With runners at second and third Lincoln went to right-hander Matt Cronin to take over for Minier. The Monarchs would pick up a run on a passed ball on Skyler Weber and their fifth run on an RBI single from Mallex Smith to give the Monarchs a 5-0 cushion.
Brian Glowicki worked around two base runners in the top of the eighth inning to keep the game 5-0. Jameson McGrane would come into the game in the bottom of the ninth. The righty would allow a lead off single to Justin Byrd, but would strike out Rayder Ascanio for out number one. The Saltdogs would load the bases on a single from Ryan Long and walk for Jason Rogers. Former Sioux City Explorer Nate Samson, knocked in two runs on a single to right to cut the lead to 5-2. The Monarchs would go to the pen and bring Alex Valdez into the game with the tying run at the plate. Valdez would strikeout Josh Altman and get a ground ball to short from Wellington Dotel to force out Sampson at second and preserve the win and pick up his first save of the post season.
The Monarchs will be off on Thursday as the series shifts to Kansas City. Kansas City was the only team of the four road teams to win their first-round game Wednesday night. The win was the 39th win in franchise history in the post season.
The Monarchs will play the second game of the playoff series against the Lincoln Saltdogs Friday night (9/9) at 6:30 p.m at Legends Field in Kansas City. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 6:00 pm and the video stream airing on aa baseball.tv.
Tickets to all Monarchs playoff games can be purchased by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting monarchsbaseball.com. For additional information or interview requests, members of the media may contact the Monarchs Media Relations Department at (817) 739-3693. Stay tuned to monarchs baseball.com. and the Monarchs Facebook and Twitter pages for updates throughout the season.
WP: Hall (1-0)
LP: Minier (0-1)
S: Valdez (1)
By: DAN VAUGHAN, JR.