If anyone deserved congratulations after the Wingnuts' 9-7 win over Fort Worth on Thursday night, it was Wichita outfielder Ryan Patterson.
Instead of accepting praise, Patterson was thinking only of how it helped everybody else, particularly starting pitcher Ryan Hinson, whose win Patterson preserved in the late innings.
Patterson allowed the Wingnuts to keep the lead in the eighth inning by throwing a runner out at home, then helped Wichita add an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, which he led off with a double.
"It ended a rally, kept Hinson in line with a win," Patterson said of his lead-saving throw in the eighth, which nabbed Cory Morales. "All that stuff means a lot to you as a player because (starting pitchers) are going out there and busting it every night for you, too."
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Patterson had a highlight in the first inning before adding the two more significant ones.
Facing Fort Worth pitcher Mike Bacsik, an ex-major leaguer most known for allowing Barry Bonds' record-breaking 756th home run in 2007, Patterson walloped a one-out home run to left-center.
"About the only thing me and (Bonds) have in common," Patterson joked.
Patterson's home run paved the way for the Wingnuts' five-run first. Only Patterson's homer represented an earned run because Morales made a one-out error, but Wichita had four hits against Bacsik, who exited after the first.
Bacsik made a Twitter post about the Dallas Mavericks game before the Wingnuts wrapped up their Thursday win, and his outing was hardly noteworthy because he lasted 28 pitches against an offense eager to oppose him.
"(No one) says that when you're facing a guy who's been there and you've seen on TV, that you're not excited to face him," Patterson said. "We still have the same mindset and we still want to go in there and get it done."
The Wingnuts led 7-0 before Fort Worth began chipping away, first with two runs in the third, then a pair in the fourth. The Cats made it 9-7 with runners at second and third with two outs in the eighth and perhaps their most dangerous hitter, Marcos Rodriguez, at the plate.
Rodriguez lined the first pitch from Gary Lee to center, where Patterson fielded it cleanly and fired home a one-hop throw. Jeff Stevens applied the tag on Morales and the Wingnuts had a one-run lead because Brian Fryer scored on the hit.
"Anytime you're playing in the outfield and you get a chance to make a play, you definitely want to make it because you don't get all that many opportunities, especially in a situation like that," Patterson said. "I was lucky enough to be the one that got a chance. I was lucky enough to throw it on there and Jeff made the tag. It helped us win, and I'm happy about that."
Patterson had to immediately put the throw behind him because he led off the bottom of the eighth and Wichita needed to keep momentum. He smacked an 0-1 pitch from Tim Haines to left-center for a double, and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Juan Richardson.
The middle innings were often unsightly for the Wingnuts, whose pitchers walked or hit five batters between the fourth and eighth innings and saw four eventually score, with Morales the lone exception.
But Patterson helped the Wingnuts end the game beautifully, and Josh Dew earned his seventh save by pitching a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts.
"He was a big part of that game tonight," Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. "For sure."
Morales ss4122Horn ss5000
Metcalf 3b5110Patterson cf5331
Rodriguez rf3112Cortes rf4221
Allen dh4011Richardson 3b4122
Lockwood 1b5021Delgado 1b4111
Moore c5000Workman dh4132
Kinzler 2b4000Conroy lf4112
Sauceda lf2200Stevens c4000
Fryer cf3210Bellorin c0000
Fort Worth002 201 110 — 7 Wichita520 100 01x— 9
E—Button 2 (5). LOB—Fort Worth 8, Wichita 8. 2B—Morales (4), Metcalf (3), Allen (2), Patterson 2 (9), Cortes 2 (7), Workman (6). 3B—Lockwood (1), Conroy (4). HR—Patterson (4). SB—Morales (5), Roriguez 2 (7), Sauceda (4), Fryer (5). S—Cortes. SF—Rodriguez (1), Richardson (2).
Hinson W, 3-1665325
HBP—By Haines (Delgado); by Hinson (Sauceda). WP—Bailey 3 (4). Bk—Hinson. Umpires—Home, Ben Levin; First, Travis Godec; Third, Joe Stegner. T—2:45. A—1,820.