06/30/2012 5:36 AM
By Brian Bruce
LINCOLN, Neb.- Kansas City starter Josh Rainwater went the distance with eight innings, but the Lincoln Saltdogs used a three-run sixth inning to build a 6-1 lead and held on to win 6-4 at Haymarket Park on Friday night.
Rainwater (3-3), who had won his last three starts, gave up nine hits with one walk, and he struck out three Lincoln batters.
In the ninth inning, though, it looked as if the T-Bones offense was going to put Rainwater in position for his fourth win. After scoring two runs in the eighth, Kansas City trailed 6-3. With two outs and the bases loaded, Saltdogs closer P.J. Zocchi hit Gus Milner with a pitch. Then, down 6-4 and needing a base hit to possibly tie, the hot-hitting Brandon Jones lined out to left-fielder Brad Payne, ending the game.
Rainwater threw three scoreless innings and went into the bottom of the fourth with a 1-0 lead, after Milner lined his third home run of the season to right center with two outs. The Saltdogs, however, took the lead in the fourth on David Espinosa’s two-run homer.
After Tommy Collaro hit a leadoff solo shot in the fifth, his fourth straight game with a home run, the Saltdogs put their stamp on the game in the sixth. Leading 3-1, Lincoln scored three runs on four hits, increasing the lead to 6-1.
The loss drops Kansas City to 22-19. Game two of the four-game set is slated for 7:05 on Saturday night. The T-Bones send right-hander Luke Irvine (0-0; 3.86 ERA) to the mound for his second start. Lincoln counters with right-hander Wade Mackey (3-0; 3.72). Catch the play-by-play call on the KMBZ Business Channel 1660 AM and online at www.tbonesbaseball.com.