Rutherford, Monarchs Erase Four-Run Deficit In Win

By Cal Friedman

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Competitors don’t like losing; champions find a way. A dugout filled with competitors and defending champions led the Kansas City Monarchs back on Sunday afternoon.

The defending champions scored seven unanswered to clinch their first home series of the year, defeating the Winnipeg Goldeyes, 10-6, at Legends Field.

Kansas City trailed 6-2 in the fifth, but scored in each of their final four innings, including a four-run eighth. All three runs in the eighth scored with two outs. Hayden Jones hit a dramatic two-run home run to put the Monarchs in front.

“We know what our lineup can do,” Monarchs outfielder Blake Rutherford said. “We’re always in it. We can string some hits together … I feel like we’re never out of it.”

The former major leaguer got back to his old tricks at Legends Field. Rutherford drove in four runs, bringing his season total to a league-leading 14. The designated hitter detonated on an offspeed pitch for a two-run home run in the first inning.

“I was able to stay on the pitch and get it over the wall, it felt good,” Rutherford said.

The home run marked the third of the season for Rutherford, as well as the third straight game that Kansas City (6-3) scored multiple runs in the first inning.

He finished with a season-high four RBI in the win, including a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single.

“I’m just trying to get good pitches to hit,” Rutherford said. “A bunch of guys are getting on base, I’m just trying to do my job and get it to the next guy.”

The Monarchs faced immediate adversity following, losing its starting pitcher and the lead in the ensuing half inning. The Goldeyes (3-7) stormed back with two RBI doubles to take a 3-2 lead.

Right-hander Hunter McMahon was forced into an early debut following an injury to KC starter Will McAffer. 

McMahon struck out two in 1.2 IP, surrendering one run. Keshawn Lynch knocked in Andy Armstrong in the fourth inning, followed up by a Rob Emery solo homer in the next inning, giving the Goldeyes a 6-2 lead.

The Monarchs responded a half inning later, Travis Swaggerty singling home Ross Adolph to cut the lead to three.

Swaggerty finished 3-for-5 with two RBI.

Frankie Tostado made an awesome first impression in this series, hitting four extra-base hits against the Goldeyes. The first baseman demolished a home run to left to bring the Winnipeg lead to one, 6-5 in the sixth.

The bottom of the eighth saw five straight hits with two outs. Jones’ go-ahead home run marked the Monarchs’ third long ball of the day.

“Hayden had an unbelievable swing on that,” Rutherford said. “He’s been grinding and working. He put a good swing on that ball and crushed it.”

The Monarchs’ bullpen held firm throughout the late innings. Nicolo Pinazzi and J.C. Keys (3-0) combined for seven strikeouts to hold Winnipeg at six runs. 

Kansas City continues its 10-game homestand tomorrow night against the East Division’s Kane County Cougars. Monday night is the first of three Bark In The Park Nights, register your dog and purchase tickets online at monarchsbaseball.com/BarkInThePark.