Darnell Sweeney was a double away from the cycle Saturday night at Sioux Falls Stadium. He finished his night 3-5 with four RBI and helped the Kansas City Monarchs (26-12) beat the Sioux City Explorers (12-27) 8-3.

The Monarchs offense got off to a hot start. On the first pitch of the game, Darnell Sweeney belted a solo home run to give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead. Kevin Santa followed this up with a triple. Jan Hernandez stepped up to the plate and mashed his 16th home run of the year, extending the lead to three. Immediately after Hernandez’s at-bat, Casey Gillaspie notched a solo home run. The Monarchs finished their half of the inning with six hits and a 4-0 lead over the Canaries.

Kansas City extended their lead in the third inning. Willie Abreu drove an RBI single to left field to bring in Matt Adams. Later in the inning, Sweeney blasted a bases-clearing triple to score Abreu, Pete Kozma, and Alexis Olmeda to give the Monarchs an 8-0 lead.

Lewis Thorpe started on the mound for Kansas City. He retired 11 straight Canaries before Gavin LaValley hit a solo home run in the fourth inning to get Sioux Falls on the scoreboard.

Both teams were quiet until the Canaries scored a pair of runs in the sixth. Wyatt Ulrich led off the inning with a single to center field. Jabari Henry hit an RBI double to score Ulrich and was brought in on an RBI single by John Nester. After six innings of play, Kansas City led 8-3 over Sioux Falls.

Thorpe earned a quality start as he finished his night, allowing three runs while striking out eight batters in six innings of work.

Brock Gilliam relieved Lewis Thorpe in the seventh inning. After missing several weeks due to an injury, he didn’t miss a beat. Gilliam struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh. He threw two more scoreless innings and struck out Angelo Altavilla to end the game and earn his first save of the season.

The Monarchs will face off against the Canaries in the rubber match tomorrow afternoon 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 aa baseball.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 monarchs baseball.com. and the Monarchs Facebook and Twitter pages for updates throughout the season.

WP: Lewis Thorpe (5-1)

LP: Joey Pulido (0-4)

S: Brock Gilliam (1)