Jon Harris was delivering strikeouts on Thursday night at Legends Field. Harris recorded six scoreless innings, seven strikeouts, and three hits allowed. Harris’ strong start propelled the the Kansas City Monarchs (17-7) to a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Goldeyes (11-12).
The finale of the two-game series with the Goldeyes started off with a scoreless inning and a strikeout from the Monarchs’ Jon Harris. In the bottom half of the first, walks, errors and RBIs from the two hottest bats in the offense provided the Monarchs with an early 3-0 lead. Matt Adams recorded a sacrifice fly RBI following a Willie Abreu walk and a Kevin Santa single. An error from the pitcher and catcher aided in advancing the runners into scoring position. Kansas City continued to display patience at the plate, as David Thompson drew a two out walk. With runners on first and third, Jan Hernandez roped an RBI double to the right field corner, bringing both runners home.
For an extended stretch, the only scoring occurred in the bottom half of the first frame. Harris struck out another in the second inning and his team had his back, as Pete Kozma helped turn a 6-4-3 double play to close out the top half of the second. After a one-out single from Alexis Olmeda and another Abreu walk, the Monarchs’ scoring stayed quiet as they stranded two to close the second.
Harris fell into a rhythm on the mound with three strikeouts in the third to hold the Goldeyes scoreless and strand a runner in scoring position. The Monarchs’ offense was knocking on the door again in the bottom of the third with a one-out blast from Thompson that bounced over the wall for a ground rule double. The Monarchs were not able to capitalize on Thompson’s impactful play; the Monarchs lead remained 3-0 after three innings played.
The fourth inning was scoreless for the Goldeyes and the Monarchs as each pitcher retired the side in a swift, one, two, three manner. In the fifth inning, the Goldeyes attempted to generate some offense with a walk and an error from Olmeda. With two runners on, Harris shut down the Goldeyes with two more strikeouts to add to his strong performance on the mound. In the home half of the fifth, the Monarchs again put runners in scoring position with Gaby Guerrero’s one-out double. Thompson singled with two-outs, but the Monarchs were not able to add any insurance runs with base runners at first and third.
The sixth inning nearly mirrored the fourth as Harris again retired the side in one, two, three fashion. Winnipeg’s relief pitcher, Travis Seabrooke was not able to repeat Harris’ performance, giving up one single to Pete Kozma on his way to a scoreless inning pitched. After six innings played, the Monarchs held on tight to their 3-0 lead at home.
Entering the seventh inning, Harris remained on the mound looking to add to his strikeout total and to build upon his best start of the season to date. After facing one batter and allowing a leadoff walk, the Monarchs called upon Jordan Martinson to hold the Goldeyes at bay. Martinson joined in on the strikeout filled night by striking out two of the four batters he faced in route to securing Harris’ scoreless start. In the bottom of the seventh, Winnipeg brought in Jhon Vargas to retire the Monarchs in order, keeping the deficit at three runs.
The top of the eighth started off with another call to the bullpen, as Matt Blackham made his second relief appearance of the series. Blackham struck out the first batter he faced to push his total to five strikeouts in only 2.1 innings pitched. Kevin Santa flashed his athleticism with a diving play at second to record the second out of the inning. The Goldeyes loaded the bases with two outs via a single, a walk and a hit by pitch at bat. With the bases loaded, David Washington brought in two runs with an RBI single to right field to cut into the Monarchs’ lead. Casey Gillaspie cut off the throw from right field to make a heads up play and throw out the Goldeyes’ runner, Logan Hill, at third base.
The Monarchs held on to their narrow, 3-2 lead headed into the bottom of the eighth. The Goldeyes brought in Erasmo Pinales from the bullpen to begin the eighth. Thompson welcomed Pinales to the game by starting off the bottom of the eighth with another blast into left center, this time, clearing the fence without a doubt. Thompson’s solo home run provided the Monarchs with a timely insurance run. Pinales struck out Joel Booker, who replaced Jan Hernandez. After seven pitches for Pinales and two batters faced, he was replaced by Tasker Strobel. Strobel retired the next two Monarchs to keep the score 4-2 heading into the top of the ninth.
Jameson McGrane replaced Matt Blackham for the Monarchs, attempting to secure the save on back-to-back nights against the Goldeyes. McGrane allowed a leadoff single but was able to bounce back and strikeout the next to Goldeyes at the plate. Raul Navarro reached first after an error from David Thompson, leaving runners at first and second with two outs. With the go-ahead run at the plate, Mcgrane pushed the count to 2-2, Eric Rivera was then ejected by the home plate umpire. McGrane shut down the Goldeyes by striking out pinch hitter Deon Stafford Jr. and recorded his fourth save of the year.
The Monarchs will face the Chicago Dogs in the first game of a three-game road series tomorrow night 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 aabaseball.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 monarchsbaseball.com. and the Monarchs Facebook and Twitter pages for updates throughout the season.
WP: Harris (2-1)
LP: Adames (2-2)
S: McGrane (4)