The Kansas City Monarchs (54-33) set a new American Association single season home run record by belting three long balls on Monday night at Legends Field, but the Winnipeg Goldeyes (48-39) spoiled the historic night by hitting two homers of their own and pounding out 12 hits in a 7-5 win.
The Goldeyes threatened early on in this one, as Monarchs starter Brock Gilliam allowed a pair of base hits in the top of the first, putting runners at the corners with two outs. A wild pitch in the next at-bat would score Ian Sagdal and the Goldeyes would leave the first half-inning of the game with a 1-0 lead. In the bottom half, Jacob Robson would reach by way of the walk and later reach third on a stolen base with an errant throw to the outfield from catcher Deon Stafford Jr., but he would be stranded at third the next at bat, keeping the score 1-0 Winnipeg.
Gilliam looked much sharper in the second inning, as he put together a 1-2-3 inning with back-to-back punchouts to end it. The Monarchs offense would follow up with a modified 1-2-3 inning off their own after Darnell Sweeney led the inning off with a single but would be thrown out at second base three pitches later.
In the third, the top of the Goldeyes order would do some more damage. Raul Navarro would lead the inning off with a triple, and Ian Sagdal would then collect a pair of RBIs with a two-run shot to the right field Home Run Hill, extending the Winnipeg lead to 3-0. The base knock/home run one-two punch would come once again after the next batter, Max Murphy, smacked a single before the batter after him, David Washington, would add to his American Association lead in the home runs category with a two-run shot, lengthening the Goldeyes’ lead to five. On the Monarchs’ side of things, Kevin Santa would lace a one-out single to the 5-6 hole and then be moved to second on a fielder’s choice from Mallex Smith. Ryan Grotjohn would then get hit by a pitch, bringing Jacob Robson to the plate with runners on first and second. The runners had a head start since Robson drew a full count, and it sure came in handy when Robson went the other way down the third base line for a double just past a diving Ian Sagdal, scoring Santa.
The fourth inning began with a single to center field which got under the glove of Mallex Smith, landing Deon Stafford at third base. Reggie Pruitt Jr. would then rope an RBI single for the Goldeyes’ sixth run. A fielder’s choice would advance Pruitt to second, and a steal of third would set Ian Sagdal up for a sac fly to left, helping the Goldeyes leave the inning with a 7-1 lead. In the Monarchs’ half, Darnell Sweeney put a charge into a 3-2 fastball, turning it out to right field for a solo home run. Unfortunately for Kansas City, this would be the only base hit of the half inning, and the Monarchs would leave the frame down 7-2.
After a four-batter top of the fifth, Kevin Santa would lead the home half off with a single. Following a steal of second, Ryan Grotjohn would smack a hard ground ball straight back to the pitcher Manasa, catching Santa between second and third. Manasa would look Santa back to the bag and throw to second, but Santa got in safely before shortstop Navarro would make an errant throw to first, giving Santa third base. Grotjohn would also steal second, but Casey Gillaspie would ground out to strand the runners in scoring position.
Reggie Pruitt would represent the only offense for the Goldeyes with a double, but he wouldn’t come around to score. The same would happen to the Monarchs after a leadoff Darnell Sweeney double, but the inning would end with him stranded at third.
Frank Rubio would enter on in the beginning of the seventh, ending Brock Gilliam’s night with 10 hits and seven earned, but nine strikeouts through six innings pitched. Rubio would get the job done, getting himself a 1-2-3 inning. For the Monarchs, Santa would stay involved in this one and get on base again, this time by way of an error. This would turn the lineup over to leadoff hitter Mallex Smith, who would reach base on an infield single. Jacob Robson would then load the bases with one out with yet another infield single to first base. Casey Gillaspie would follow Robson with a hard hit sac fly to right field, scoring Santa nad making the score 7-3 Winnipeg.
The eighth would mark Rubio’s second inning of work, where he would once again retire the side scoreless. In the bottom half, Jan Hernandez would send a moonshot past the out-of-town bullpen for the Monarchs’ 148th home run of the season, setting a new American Association single-season record and bringing the score to 7-4. The Monarchs set the old record last season hitting 147 during their championship 2021 season.
In the ninth, Jeremy Rhoades would relieve Frank Rubio and strike out two of three, turning it over to the bottom of the ninth with the Monarchs chasing three. 3 proved to be too much, as despite a solo homer from Jacob Robson, the Monarchs couldn’t mount a comeback, making the final score 7-5.
The Monarchs continue the four-game home series against Winnipeg tomorrow night (8/23) at 7:00 p.m. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the video stream airing on aa baseball.tv.
Tickets to all Monarchs 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: Alex Manasa (4-5)
LP: Brock Gilliam (6-3)
S: McAffer (1)
BY: ADAM COOK