Canaries starting pitcher Kyle Vazquez showed why he is an American League All-Star Saturday night, throwing six inspiring innings at the Birdcage en route to an 8-6 win over the Sioux City Explorers. The Berlin, Conn. native allowed only two earned runs on seven hits while striking out five batters for a Canaries club looking to build on a 7-6 Friday evening victory. Vazquez’s strong performance in the series-clinching victory was backed offensively by a stellar night from Chris Duffy as the outfielder went 3 for 5 at the plate with 4 RBIS.
“It was a long road trip,” said Duffy. “It’s always good to play in front of Canary fans.”
The Explorers only lead of the game came in the top of the first inning when Michael Lang scored on an RBI putout. However, Sioux Falls wasted no time turning the tables on the Explorers, claiming the advantage in the bottom of the inning thanks to a solo shot from Brandon Jones and an RBI double via Chris Valencia.
Sioux Falls was able to succeed at the plate despite an intimidating outing from Sioux City start Patrick Johnson, who struck out seven batters for the first seven Canary outs of the contest. The runs were the first of eight straight that vaulted the Birds to an 8-1 cushion through five innings. A three-run double from Duffy in the bottom of the fourth provided three of those runs, getting the Canaries to a 6-1 lead over their I-29 rivals.
“It was a change-up that the pitcher left up,” said Duffy. “I got the barrel of the bat on it and split the gap.”
Steve Tinoco bumped it to 8-1 an inning later with a boomer of a double to the right field gap. The outfielder had a solid night in the batter’s box, going 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and a walk.
Sioux City was undeterred by the outburst of Canary runs, as they started an attempt at a comeback with a solo home run from Peter Barrows during the top of the sixth. The Explorers added three more in the top of the seventh to bring themselves within a field goal, with a putout in the eighth getting them within a pair. That would be the closest Sioux City would get, as Alan DeRatt slammed the door in the top of the ninth to guarantee the 8-6 win in front of the home crowd.
The Canaries will head back to the Birdcage tomorrow afternoon to finish off their series against the Explorers at 4:05 pm. It’ll be a fun-filled day at the ballpark, as kids can run the bases after the game, meet Cagey and get a chance at autographs from Canary players. There will also be a showing of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” following the game.
Courtesy: Tony Cola, Canaries