WINNIPEG, Manitoba — It may have been one of the toughest decisions Rick Forney ever made as the Winnipeg Goldeyes manager.
But the move continues to pay dividends. When Forney added big-bopping Barbaro Canizares to his roster, he was forced to release veteran Jon Weber to make room.
Well, the big Cuban came through with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning off Wingnuts closer Josh Dew to give the Goldeyes a 5-4 victory over the Wichita Wingnuts in Game 1 of the American Association championship sernes before 5,117 fans Tuesday night at Shaw Park.
"It felt pretty good because, early in the game, I was struggling a little bit," Canizares said through teammate Yurendell de Caster, who interprets for him. "But I got a good pitch to hit and I hit it over the fence."
He hit over the left-field fence and on to the road beyond it.
"That big guy got the barrel to it and it worked out well for us," Forney said. "I was pretty excited. This is good stuff. This is what you live for, to see stuff like this. It doesn’t happen all the time but it’s been a special season for us and obviously, we’ve still got a little baseball left in us."
The Goldeyes gathered together and jumped excitedly after the crushing blow.
"I can’t really talk right now, my voice is hurting so much," starting pitcher Ace Walker said. "I hopped the fence and ran over there and I knew I was gonna sucker-punch him a few times. It was just complete exhilaration. It’s pretty awesome."
"It’s a good start," Forney said. "There’s so much baseball left to play in this series so nothing’s done. So, you want to try to grab as much momentum as you can. It’s gonna be tough (Wednesday). When you lose on a walk-off fashion, it’s so deflating sometimes so hopefully, it will have a little carryover for us. But Wichita’s such a good team, they’ll come back … and they’ll be ready to play so we’ll have to be on top of our game."
Game 2 will be played at Shaw Park on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Winnipeg left fielder Kyle Day smacked a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game 4-4. Right fielder Mike Coles, who had singled and stumbled to second on an error, scored on the play.
Wichita left fielder Steve Stanley hit an RBI single off Goldeyes closer Brian Beuning to score the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning. Stanley cashed in catcher Jesse Mier, who had singled off Beuning and advanced to second on a groundout.
The Goldeyes had knotted the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning. First baseman Josh Mazzola hit a leadoff double and catcher Luis Alen bunted him over. Right fielder Mike Coles followed with an RBI single but got thrown out trying to stretch it to a double.
Wichita took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning. First baseman C.J. Ziegler and third baseman Greg Porter hit back-to-back singles, and right fielder David Peralta followed with an RBI single.
The Goldeyes blew a second golden opportunity in the bottom of the third. For the second time in the game, they could only score one run despite loading the bases with no outs. Mazzola drew a one-out walk to score Canizares, who had led off the inning with a base on balls.
The Wingnuts took advantage of three walks to score two runs off Walker and take a 2-1 lead in the top of the third inning. Both shortstop Ryan Khoury and second baseman Jake Kahaulelio walked to lead off the inning. Porter then hit a two-out, two-run single to score both. Walker pitched out of a bases-loaded jam to end the inning.
The Goldeyes had drawn first blood in the second inning. They loaded the bases with but could only cash in one run. Left fielder Kyle Day hit into a fielder’s choice to score Canizares, who had walked to lead off the inning.
|Khoury ss||3||1||1||0||Kendall ss||4||1||2||0|
|Kahaulelio 2b||4||1||1||0||Roberson cf||5||0||2||0|
|Rodriguez dh||5||0||0||0||deCaster 2b||5||0||1||0|
|Ziegler 1b||4||1||1||0||Canizares dh||3||2||1||1|
|Porter 3b||5||0||2||2||Mazzola 1b||2||1||1||1|
|Peralta rf||5||0||3||1||Alen c||3||0||1||0|
|Mier c||3||1||1||0||Coles rf||4||1||2||1|
|Conroy cf||5||0||0||0||Day lf||4||0||1||2|
|Stanley lf||4||0||1||1||Ramon 3b||4||0||0||0|
E—Peralta. LOB—Wichita 10, Winnipeg 8. DP— Wichita 2, Winnipeg 1. 2B— Kahaulelio, Roberson, Mazzola, Day. HR — Canizares. SB — Khoury, Kahaulelio. CS — deCaster. S — Mier, Allen.
|Beuning W,1-0||2 2/3||2||1||1||1||1|
WP — Walker. Umpires — home, Dixon Sureman; first, Tim McCaffrey; second, Joe Pascucci; third, Art Thigpen. T — 3:30. A — 5,117.