The Kansas City Monarchs (34-17) had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them on the mound on Saturday night, as they faced six different Lincoln Saltdogs’ (25-25) pitchers on the way to their 11-5 victory. Matt Adams led the way with his grand slam in the fourth inning on his way to a five-RBI night. Matt Adams’ RBI total on the season was brought to a league-leading 61 on the night and his home run total to a league-tying 20 with fellow Monarch, Jan Hernandez.
The Monarchs’ offense was knocking on the doorsteps early in Lincoln on Saturday night. In the first frame, the Monarchs led with two walks and a Sweeney stolen base to set up runners at the corners. The Monarchs were not able to bring Sweeney home as the next three Monarchs were retired in order. In the home half of the first, Saltdogs threatened to score early with Josh Altmann reaching third base after a blooping, two-out single. Justin Donatella received the start for the Monarchs and picked up his first of four strikeouts on the night in the first inning.
In the second inning both offenses got on the board to break the scoreless start. Following two Monarchs strikeouts, Pete Kozma singled and J.C. Escarra drew a walk. With runners at first and second, Darnell Sweeney singled up the middle to bring home Kozma. Sweeney was caught stealing to end the inning. The Monarchs 1-0 lead did not last long as the Saltdogs swiped the lead back in the bottom of the second. Lincoln capitalized off a lead-off hit-by-pitch at-bat from Patrick Caulfield. Following a Caulfield stolen base, Hunter Clanin singled to advance Caulfield to third base. With runners on the corners, the Saltdogs tied it up via an RBI single from JR DiSarcina. The Saltdogs finished the inning leading 2-1 after a fielder’s choice RBI from Randy Norris.
In the top of the third, the Monarchs flirted with an offensive onslaught, loading the bases with just one out. Casey Gillaspie popped out into foul territory before Gaby Guerrero drove a deep warning track fly out for out number three. The Monarchs trailed 3-1 after the bottom of third inning after Matt Goodheart blasted a one-out, solo home run for the Saltdogs. Donatella picked up another two strikeouts in the inning on his way to retiring three of four batters in the third inning.
After a J.C. Escarra one-out single, and two walks drawn, the Monarchs offense finally broke through in the fourth with a Matt Adams grand slam to right field off of reliever Josh Norwood. Kansas City was not done in the inning, with a double from David Thompson and a single from Gillaspie to follow, bringing their lead to 6-3. In the bottom of the fourth, Donatella’s final inning of work was a clean inning, allowing no hits, retiring three out of four Saltdogs.
In the fifth inning, the Saltdogs, for the first time on the night, retired the Monarchs in one, two, three fashion. Frank Rubio replaced Donatella on the mound for the Monarchs, surrendering two runs in the fifth before striking out two Saltdogs to end the inning leading 6-5.
Kansas City added one more run in the sixth inning via an error from Saltdogs first baseman, Matt Goodheart, on a sharply hit ball down the line from Casey Gillaspie. The Monarchs ended the inning leading 7-5. Jordan Martinson entered for Kansas City on the mound, walking one, allowing no runs or hits on his way to an efficient inning of relief work.
Jesse Stallings replaced Jonathan Chesire on the mound before the Monarchs once again loaded the bases. Pete Kozma reached base via an error from third baseman, Eddy Martinez, to start the inning. J.C Escarra followed up with a single to set up walks from Sweeney and Chad De La Guerra. De La Guerra’s walk brought home another run before Jan Hernandez grounded into a double play to push the Monarchs lead to 9-5 bringing home J.C. Escarra. In the home half of the seventh inning, Kansas retired Lincoln in one, two, three behind a tag team effort from Martinson and Brock Gilliam.
The eighth inning featured both relief pitchers retiring the side in order. Lincoln’s Connor Hope replaced Jesse Stallings on his way to picking up two strikeouts in the seventh. Brock Gilliam struck out one on his way to his one, two, three inning,
In the top of the ninth, the Monarchs added two more runs, fueled by Eddy Martinez’ two walks and a hit-by-pitch at-bat. The Monarchs led 11-5 heading into the home half, Brock Gilliam slammed the door shut on the Saltdogs, retiring three out of four Saltdogs, striking out one in the ninth.
The Monarchs will wrap up their series with the Saltdogs tomorrow afternoon in Lincoln with game time at 1:05 p.m. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 12:35 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: Rubio (2-0)
LP: Johnson (1-4)