Sioux Falls, SD-- A monster night at the plate from A.J. Kirby-Jones proved too much for the Gary-SouthShore Railcats to handle as two home runs from the first baseman set the tone for a 9-3 Sioux Falls Canaries win at the Birdcage Monday night. Kirby-Jones wasted no time making his mark on the evening, rocketing a three-run shot over the left field fence that provided the Canaries (18-25) an early 3-0 lead in the first inning and allowed the club to win their fifth in a row at home.
“I think we’re just playing good baseball right now as a team,” said Kirby-Jones. “We just have to keep hitting and winning.”
The Canaries enjoyed a strong performance from the mound Monday as well, with starting pitcher Joe Bircher (2-4) permitting three earned runs in six solid innings. Sioux Falls came into night off the tails of a three-game sweep against the St. Paul Saints and having won their last three series played in their friendly confines.
“There’s always confidence. Even when you’re losing you have to have confidence,” said Kirby-Jones. “If not, you’re just going to get worn down and keep getting beat.”
Kirby-Jones’ first home run was only the beginning of the first inning offensive onslaught, as the Canaries’ bats slapped three more runs on the board before all was said and done. The 6-0 lead turned into 9-0 in the bottom of the fourth courtesy of two more Canaries home runs, including Kirby Jones’ second of the evening. The first baseman finished the game 2 for 5 with five RBIs and two runs scored.
Gary Southshore tried to crack into the lead with two runs in the fifth inning and one in the sixth, making it 9-3. However, it was to no avail as a combined effort from Chase Boruff and Erick Gonzalez held the Railcats off the board the rest of the way to give the Canaries their 11th home win of the season.
“They (Gary Southshore) are a very scrappy team,” said Kirby-Jones. “They get a lot of hits and they can do a lot of damage on the base paths with their speed.”
The Canaries will return to the Birdcage tomorrow night for the second game of their series against the Railcats in a 7:05 pm contest. Ben Moore will go for his 54th career win in a Sioux Falls uniform, which would break the tie he is currently in with Richard Hyde for the franchise career mark. Fans can get 2 for 1 admission with donation of non-perishable item to Feeding South Dakota.
Courtesy: Sioux Falls Canaries Anthony Cola