The Kansas City Monarchs (45-22) stayed dominant over the Canaries from Sioux Falls (24-41), completing the combined shutout behind a strong performance from starter Nick Belzer and a dominant showing from the bullpen. Belzer went four innings, allowing no runs but recording no strikeouts before a new Monarch would toe the rubber each inning for the rest of the game, shutting the Canaries out 3-0.
Monarchs starting pitcher Nick Belzer took a moment to get settled in in this one, allowing a double and a walk to the first two batters. Fortunately for Belzer and the Monarchs, he knows how to time his double play balls, as a 6-4-3 double play helped him escape the inning unscathed.
Belzer and Sioux Falls starter Cesilio Pimentel would then both trade 1-2-3 innings through the top of the third. The streak would be broken by Belzer’s allowing another two-baserunner inning when John Nester and Osvaldo Martinez hit back-to-back singles. Again, Belzer would work his way out of it by way of the ground ball with back-to-back ground ball outs, escaping once again scoreless.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Canaries offense would again show some life with a single and a double, putting runners at the corners with two away, but Sioux Falls’ Kona Quiggle would end the inning with a foul out.
The fifth inning marked the end of the road for Belzer, as Brian Glowicki would begin the fifth on the bump, ending Belzer’s night with four innings pitched, five hits, no runs, and no strikeouts. Glowicki’s entrance would mark the beginning of a dominant night for the Monarchs bullpen, as he retired the side in four batters to send the game to the sixth, where the Monarchs bats would finally come to life.
It began with a single from Willie Abreu, turning the lineup over to the top for leadoff hitter Darnell Sweeney, who would then rope a double to right field, putting runners at second and third with no outs for Kevin Santa. Santa didn’t have to take the bat off his shoulder to give the Monarchs the first lead of the game, however, as Abreu came across the plate on a wild pitch from Pimentel, advancing Sweeney to third. After a Santa strikeout, slugger David Thompson stepped up and whacked a double to left field, scoring Sweeney and making the score 2-0 Kansas City.
Back-to-back walks from the next two batters, Matt Adams and Casey Gillaspie, brought newly-converted first baseman J.C. Escarra to the batter’s box in a bases loaded, one out situation, where he would become the third straight Monarch to be awarded a free pass, scoring Thompson. This would be the last straw for Pimentel, as he was taken out for relief pitcher Stevie Ledesma, who would promptly strike out the next two Monarchs, turning the inning over with the score 3-0 Kansas City.
Brock Gilliam, Brandon Koch, and Jeremy Rhoades would take over in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, respectively, and allow a combined one baserunner, and Koch would strike out the side in order. This brought the Monarchs to the ninth inning ahead 3-0, where closer Jameson McGrane would Zane Gurwitz, Jabari Henry, and Gavin LaValley in order, securing his 14th save, the combined shutout, and the sixth straight win for the Monarchs.
The Monarchs will go for the sweep in game three of their three-game series against the Sioux Falls Canaries tomorrow (7/31) at 1:05 p.m. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 12:30 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: Glowicki (1-0)
LP: Pimentel (0-3)
S: McGrane (14)
BY: ADAM COOK