RailCats fall further behind Goldeyes
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137 or firstname.lastname@example.org August 22, 2012 11:12PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 7:57AM
GARY — Coming into their three-game series against Winnipeg, the RailCats more or less needed to sweep the Goldeyes in order to be serious players in the wild-card race.
Instead, they’re guaranteed to lose the series, after having won their previous five.
Winnipeg dropped the RailCats 7-2 on Wednesday night at the Steel Yard, the Goldeyes’ second straight decisive win, matching Tuesday’s 7-2 outcome.
The RailCats (44-45) had gained momentum heading into the would-be showdown with Winnipeg (50-38); but the first two games of this series have demonstrated that although they have made progress and continue to compete, they’re still not at the level of the American Association’s upper-echelon teams this season.
“From our ballclub’s standpoint, this was an evening, we had a lot of confidence going into the series, even coming off a tough game last night,” RailCats manager Greg Tagert said. “We didn’t think we’d win 17 in a row to end the season, but we thought we’d play better than we did the last two nights.
“Tonight was a little more indicative of when we were going through a tough stretch in June and July.”
The RailCats fell 61/2 games behind the Goldeyes in the wild-card standings, and remained seven games behind Wichita in the Central Division. As they dipped back below .500, their more realistic goal at this stage could be to continue Tagert’s streak of winning seasons; he has never had a losing one in the first 16 of his career.
Already leading 1-0 on a first-inning run, the Goldeyes touched Alberto Rolon for five runs in the fourth, batting around. Luis Alen homered to left field to start the inning, and Eric Suttle’s fielding error — his second of the game, as the RailCats committed three overall, including Rolon’s on a pickoff in the inning — aided Winnipeg’s cause.
“That five-run inning just got away from Alberto. … That inning just snowballed on him,” Tagert said. “That was a tough one to swallow. Last night was one of those nights we made a little run at it. But tonight, our starting pitching didn’t give us a chance. Stephen (Hiscock) last night and Alberto tonight, certainly it was a blow to the club. It couldn’t come at a less opportune time.”
Rolon (3-5) went five innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on nine hits with five walks and three strikeouts.
Winnipeg starter Chris Salamida (5-6) largely silenced the RailCats, allowing one run on eight hits in seven innings, with a tidy seven-to-zero strikeouts-to-walks ratio.