SIOUX CITY | Fargo-Moorhead pitcher Jose Almartante kept Sioux City in check for most of the evening and struck out eight batters to lead the RedHawks to a 4-1 win and a sweep of their three-game American Association baseball series at Lewis & Clark Park Thursday evening.
The right-handed, Almarante, a native of the Dominican Republic, worked eight innings and gave up seven hits with no walks while fanning 10 batters. He improved to 5-6.
Fargo-Moorhead, in a battle with Kansas City and Gary SouthShore for the league's wild card playoff berth, got the lead in the second inning on Trever Adams' solo home run and increased the lead to 2-0 in the third inning on an RBI single by Chris Grayson.
Sioux City pulled back to within 2-1 in its half of the third when Michael Lang reached on a two-out single and came around to score on LeVon Washington's double off the fence in right-center field.
After that, Almartante bore down and retired the next 10 Explorers he faced and didn't allow a base runner through the game's middle three innings.
Sioux City finally broke that run in the seventh when Eudor Garcia and Dre Gleason hit singles to put runners on first and second with one out. The RedHawks' got a big play to deny the X's when centerfielder Devan Ahart robbed Nate Samson with a diving catch on a ball headed for the gap in right-center then threw back to second to double up Garcia to end the threat.
In the meantime, F-M's Joe Mazzola gave Almarante some breathing room with another solo home run in the sixth inning to end a string of nine straight set down by Hobbs Johnson.
Johnson (3-8) had an effective outing despite taking the loss, giving up seven hits and a walk while fanning six.
Sioux City (39-44) lost for the fifth straight time and closes out its home stand starting Friday with a three-game set with Lincoln. Kramer Sneed is set to start on the mound for Sioux City.