By Nolan Brooks
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Two ninth-inning insurance runs lifted the Sioux City Explorers to a 4-1 win over the Kansas City Monarchs at Legends Field Wednesday night.
The Monarchs (55-38) are still one game away from clinching their fourth consecutive division championship. Micker Adolfo homered for the Monarchs.
Explorers starting pitcher Austin Drury threw six innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and two walks. He struck out eight batters.
The Explorers started the scoring in the top of the third. Matt Lloyd smoked an RBI double to put Sioux City up 1-0. Wilfredo Gimenez hit an RBI infield single on a comebacker to the mound. It was 2-0 Explorers after three.
Both bullpens settled in from there. Monarchs reliever Matt Hartman threw three scoreless innings of relief. Hartman struck out four batters and allowed only one hit and one walk.
The Monarchs got on the board in the bottom of the seventh. Adolfo smashed his solo home run to make it 2-1 Sioux City after seven.
Patrick Weigel entered in the top of the ninth to try and keep it a one-run game. But RBI singles from Daniel Lingua and Gimenez made it 4-1.
Explorers closer Sean Rackoski entered in the ninth and closed out the game. Rackoski now has 19 saves on the season.
Drury got the win (5-5) and Monarchs starter Ashton Goudeau got the loss (2-1). Goudeau exited after three innings of work with two strikeouts. He allowed two earned runs on five hits and three walks.
UP NEXT: The Monarchs conclude a three-game home series versus the Explorers. Game three is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday. Brandon Finnegan will start on the mound for the Monarchs.