ROSEMONT, Ill. – A day after having their 10-game road winning streak snapped by the Chicago Dogs, the Sioux City Explorers bounced back with a 7-2 American Association baseball win at Impact Field here Wednesday.
Sioux City won the rubber game of a three-game series and improved its record to 38-13, far and away the best in the American Association. The X’s lead second-place Kansas City by five games in the South Division.
The game started at 11:35 a.m. and the mid-day sun aided the Explorers in the top of the first. Chicago right fielder Jonathan Moroney lost the ball in the sun on a drive off the bat of Michael Lang that dropped behind him for a triple. The next batter, Jay Austin, plated Lang with a double.
Jay Baum doubled in the second inning for the X’s and advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw. Baum raced home with the second run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Dexture McCall.
Shoddy defense led to two more Explorers runs in the fifth. A Treysen Vavra error allowed McCall to reach base leading off the frame. Two walks and a sacrifice bunt later, Lang came to the plate with the bases loaded, driving in a run with a ground out. Austin followed with an RBI single.
The Explorers broke it open with three in the sixth, thanks to production from the bottom of the order. McCall doubled and Dylan Kelly followed a leadoff single by Baum with consecutive doubles, Kelly’s hit plating two runs. Daniel Jackson drove in the third run with a sacrifice fly.
One game after the Nos. 6 through 9 spots in the Sioux City order went a combined 0-for-15, they were 5-for-11 with three RBIs.
Explorers starter James Dykstra lasted only one inning before being removed because of an apparent injury. As usual, though, the bullpen was magnificent, with Ryan Flores pitching five scoreless innings. Patrick Schuster retired the only hitter he faced and Ryan Horstman struck out the side in the ninth.
In between, Chicago got both of its runs off William Lamarche in the eighth. An Edwin Arroyo double and RBI single by Joe Benson averted a shutout.
Chicago starter Connor Root gave up six runs on six hits in 5.1 innings pitched, suffering his fifth loss in a row.
The Explorers open a three-game series against the Lincoln Saltdogs Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Lewis and Clark Park.