The first professional grand slam and a career-high six RBIs and seven total bases from Marcus Mooney guided the Gary SouthShore RailCats to a 14-9 win on a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon at Routine Field. Sunday’s win gives Gary their second series win of the month and the RailCats fifth victory in six games against the Milkmen. Mooney reached base in his first five plate appearances, tied a career-high with four hits, scored twice and extended his league-high hit by pitch total to 12 after getting plunked in his final second-to-last plate appearance.
Gary (26-40) jumped out to a 4-0 lead after batting around in the first. Alex Crosby homered on to the right field concourse on the second pitch of the game before John Price Jr. legged out a one-out hustle-double to right. Tom Walraven followed Price with an RBI single to center for the second run of the inning. Two batters later, Wilfredo Gimenez drew a two-out, four-pitch walk before Ray Jones reached first on a wild pitch following a dropped third strike. Mooney then delivered the first two of his six RBIs with a two-run single to center.
Milwaukee (27-38) quickly cut the Gary lead in half with two runs in the bottom of the first. Riley Pittman homered to begin the frame before Manuel Boscan drew a one-out walk. Adam Walker then singled before Dan Ward brought home Boscan with a two-out RBI single to center for the final run of the inning.
The RailCats regained their four-run lead with two more runs in the top of the second. Crosby walked to begin the inning before moving up to second on a groundout by Andy De Jesus. Back-to-back two-out ground-rule doubles from Walraven and Willis then gave Gary their fifth and sixth runs of the afternoon.
The Milkmen trimmed the Gary to 6-4 with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second. Nolan Earley singled to begin the inning before former RailCat Garrett Copeland hit a two-out, two-run home run just over the leaping reach of Jones in left field.
Gary took their biggest lead of the game at 10-4 with four more runs in the fourth, all of which came with two outs. Willis was the first to reach in the frame after drawing a walk before Gimenez pulled a single to left. Jones then walked before Mooney hit his first professional grand slam and second pro homer just over the left field wall.
Milwaukee trimmed the Gary lead to 10-5 with a run in the sixth. Walker singled to begin the inning before Jose Rosario walked. Ward followed Walker with his second RBI single, scoring Walker from second.
The Milkmen made it a 10-6 contest with another run in the seventh. Copeland singled before coming around to score on a two-out RBI double from Walker.
Gary regained their six-run lead with two more runs in the top of the eighth. Willis drew his third consecutive walk to begin the inning before moving up to second on a groundout from Gimenez. Sean Guida was then hit on the first pitch he saw before getting caught at second on the back end of a double steal attempt. Mooney was then hit before a wild pitch from Milkmen reliever Tanner Kiest scored Willis from third. Will Savage then reached base for the first time with a two-out walk before Crosby drove in his second run with an RBI single to center.
Milwaukee responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth. Ward homered to begin the inning before Sam Dexter tripled to left-center. Earley followed Dexter with an RBI double for the final run of the inning.
Gary scored their last two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 14-8 lead. Price Jr. singled to begin the inning before Willis drew the last of his four straight walks with one out. Gimenez then scored Price Jr. with an RBI double into the left field corner before Guida brought in Willis to score with an RBI groundout to first.
Walker delivered the final run of the game and cut the Gary lead to 14-9 with a home run to left-center to begin the bottom of the ninth. Walker’s homer was his team-high 15th of the year and the last of three hit by the Milkmen.
Seth Hougesen (1-1) was activated from the Disabled List before the game and recorded his first professional win after allowing four runs over a career-high five innings pitched. The left-hander from Indianapolis retired the last 10 batters he faced and 12 of the final 13 he saw while yielding just five hits and a walk.
Derek Heffel (0-2) was charged with the loss in his first American Association start. The right-hander allowed a season-high 10 runs on 10 hits and six walks over 4.2 innings.
Gary concludes their six-game road trip and three-game series against the Milwaukee Milkmen at Routine Field on Monday at 7:05 p.m. The RailCats have yet to announce their starter while the Milkmen send right-hander Kurt Heyer (3-7, 5.72) to the mound in the series finale.
Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard on Tuesday for a nine-game, 10-day homestand vs. the Winnipeg Goldeyes at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday’s game is Crown Point Community Library Night and features a food drive, supporting Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. Tuesday’s game is also another Community HealthNet Health Centers Tuesday and Taco Tuesday. Visit any Northwest Indiana CHN for complimentary tickets to Tuesday’s game and enjoy our beef tacos and margaritas for $2 and $5, respectively.
Ticket packages for the 2019 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.