GARY, Ind. — A thrilling five-run comeback wasn’t quite enough for the win for the Kansas City Monarchs on Thursday.
The American Association side’s star-studded lineup erased an early 5-0 deficit. But the Gary SouthShore RailCats pulled ahead late to win 8-6 in the rubber game of a three-game series at the Steel Yard.
Monarchs shortstop LJ Hatch celebrated his 29th birthday in style, driving in three runs including a go-ahead single to make it 6-5 Kansas City in the sixth.
Dylan Rosa homered for the Monarchs (0-1), who return to Kansas City for their home opener Friday night against Sioux Falls.
The RailCats scored the game’s first five runs in the second off Monarchs starter Jeff Singer. The inning featured RBI doubles from Francisco Del Valle and Thomas Greely.
Singer settled in after that, throwing three scoreless innings to finish his outing. He allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits while walking one and striking out three.
Meanwhile, the Monarchs offense went to work.
Rosa, a native of the Chicago area, homered to lead off the third inning, his first blast of the year. Chris Herrmann delivered an RBI double later in the frame to score Jacob Robson and make it 5-2.
Hatch knocked a two-run single in the fourth inning to bring in Micker Adolfo and Gavin Collins, cutting the RailCats’ lead to one.
Adolfo tied the with a sixth-inning single, though Collins was tagged out at the plate trying to score the go-ahead run. Two batters later, Hatch came through again with a go-ahead RBI single to make it 6-5.
The Kansas City lead wouldn’t last long. Daniel Lingua led off the bottom of the sixth with a double off Monarchs righty Carlos Sanabria. Later in the inning, RailCats cleanup hitter Emmanuel Tapia hit a go-ahead two-run home run to make it 8-6 Gary SouthShore.
The home run would turn out to be the last scoring of the day. The RailCats’ bullpen held Kansas City to one hit over the final three innings. Keon Broxton struck out with men on first and second to end the game.
The Monarchs kick off their home slate with a three-game series against the Sioux Falls Canaries, starting Friday at 7 p.m.