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T-Bones get walk-off win in 12

Robby Kuzdale roped a single to left that scored Jake Blackwood and Adam Bailey, giving Kansas City a 10-9 win over Laredo in 12 innings Monday night. (Photo by John Ellis.)
08/31/2015 11:40 PM -

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Robby Kuzdale laid down a perfect suicide squeeze that gave Kansas City the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning Monday night, but it was his hit four innings later that sealed the game for the T-Bones as they beat Laredo, 10-9, in 12 innings at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

In the 12th inning, with the American Association’s use of the international tiebreaker rule, Jake Blackwood started at second base for Kansas City, after the Lemurs took a 9-8 lead in the top of the inning. Adam Bailey led off the bottom of the 12th with a high chopper that pitcher BJ Hyatt couldn’t handle and both runners were safe for Kansas City. After Kyle Robinson struck out, the Lemurs intentionally walked Vladimir Frias. With the bases loaded, Blackwood was unable to score on a short fly to right by Alex Marquez. Kuzdale, however, with a 2-0 count, roped a single to left that scored Blackwood and Bailey, and gave the T-Bones the win.

It’s a far cry from the ominous start more than 4 hours earlier, when Laredo sent 10 to the plate and tagged Kansas City starter Jeremy Strawn for five runs on seven hits in the first inning. The T-Bones came right back, though, in the bottom of the first and got three runs. Starlin Rodriguez led off the inning with a single and then Nate Tenbrink, who was announced earlier in the day as the league’s Player of the Week, launched a two-run home run to right. Blackwood then doubled and went to third on a groundout by Bailey. Robinson gave Kansas City another run with a sacrifice fly to deep center that scored Blackwood, making it a 5-3 game.

Kansas City tied the game in the bottom of the third on a home run by Bailey. The two teams then exchanged runs and remained tied at 6-6 until the T-Bones’ half of the eighth. After Frias led off the inning with a triple and Brian Erie struck out, Kuzdale put down a perfect suicide squeeze that scored Frias, who got a great jump, and gave Kansas City a 7-6 lead.

Closer Fernando Hernandez was unable to get his 21st save, however, as Laredo tacked on a run in the top of the ninth. With one out, Ty Morrison got his third hit of the night and went to second on Abel Nieves’ fourth hit of the game. Then, with Kevin Taylor at the plate and Morrison running on an 0-2 pitch, Taylor grounded the ball back to Hernandez, who got the force at second, but on the double-play attempt, the ball bounced out of Blackwood’s glove, allowing Morrison to tie the game.

Bailey and Tenbrink each had three hits for Kansas City. Tenbrink, who leads the T-Bones with 22 doubles, was a double shy of hitting for the cycle. Following his homer in the first, Tenbrink hit an RBI single in the second and a lead-off triple in the fifth. In his final two at-bats of the night, he was hit by a pitch in the seventh and grounded out in the ninth.

With the win and three games remaining in the series, Kansas City is now 3 1/2 games behind Laredo for first in the wild-card standings. Joplin is a half-game behind Laredo.

The T-Bones (49-43) and Lemurs (52-42) are scheduled to play game two Tuesday night at 7:05. Tickets are available by calling the Providence Medical Center Box Office at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 913-328-5618 or online at tbonesbaseball.com.