SAUGET, Ill. — Trae Santos hit a towering two-run homer to dead center field in the ninth inning to cut the River City Rascals’ lead to one, but the Gateway Grizzlies failed to find any more offense in a 6-5 defeat Tuesday night at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.
River City (10-5) scored five runs in the first two innings on only three hits. Although the Grizzlies (7-9) did not make an error, the Rascals were helped by some Gateway defensive mistkaes.
Alec Kisena (2-2) took the loss. He allowed five runs (all earned) in five innings, but allowed only three hits and struck out nine.
Gateway battled back with single tallies in the fourth and fifth innings before a 31-minute rain delay, then added another run in the sixth. After a River City insurance run in the eighth, the Grizzlies went to the bottom of the ninth needing three to force extra innings. Terry McClure singled and Santos brought him home with a big fly, but pinch-hitter Jeff Cardenas and Jonathan Piron struck out to end the game.
Blake Brown was 2-for-4 with an RBI, walk, stolen base and run scored. Artemis Kadkhodaian reached base three times in five plate appearances out of the lead-off spot, which he took over from the departed Matt Hearn, who signed with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday. McClure had three hits and Santos drove in three.
Gateway and River City will battle again Wednesday night in the second game of a three-game set at 7:05 p.m.in Sauget.