Rutherford Shines, But Monarchs Fall Late

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A back-and-forth game the whole way went Lincoln’s way.

The Kansas City Monarchs dropped the opening game of their three-game set, losing 8-7 in 10 innings, to the Lincoln Saltdogs at Legends Field. Kansas City had Lincoln down to its final strike in the ninth inning but allowed a game-tying run to score on a wild pitch.

Alex Baeza drilled a game-winning single to right field in the 10th.

Despite a seven-run outing for the Monarchs, highlighted by a prolific Blake Rutherford, Kansas City left the tying run at third in the bottom of the 10th.

Rutherford didn’t waste any time in his return to the lineup. The Monarchs’ (8-5) DH ripped a run-scoring single on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first.

The former major leaguer finished 3-for-5 with 3 RBI. Rutherford is up to a team-best 18 RBI this campaign.

One inning later, Rutherford torched a two-run double past Saltdogs right fielder Gary Mattis to make it 5-1 KC.

Kansas City started strong against Lincoln (6-8) starter Karan Patel. Travis Swaggerty stretched his on-base streak to 13 games with an RBI triple in the first, while Bryan Aguilar earned his third RBI in four games with a bases-loaded walk.

Lincoln showed its bark following the early struggles. The Saltdogs rallied with two runs in the third and three more in the fifth. Nick Anderson launched a go-ahead two-run home run off Monarchs starter Jackson Goddard, giving the Saltdogs a 6-5 lead.

One of the most consistent Monarchs this season came through right after. Frankie Tostado lifted an RBI single to left-center field to plate Tucker Bradley, tying the game in the bottom of the fifth.

The first baseman made another ridiculous play to score. Ross Adolph punched an RBI single to left field, and Tostado swam away from catcher Max Hewitt’s tag to score from second base.

Kansas City’s bullpen held firm with four and two-thirds of scoreless baseball. Julian Garcia struck out three, Hunter McMahon and Zack Leban hurled scoreless innings afterward.

Lincoln’s bullpen dominated, combining for 5.2 scoreless innings. Brandon McCabe (1-1) and Dan Kubiuk each set Kansas City down in order in the final two frames.

The Monarchs continue its series with the Saltdogs tomorrow at 6:35 pm. Saturday is Star Wars Night at Legends Field, tickets are available at monarchsbaseball.com.