Amarillo rallied from a four-run deficit and Jason Martin hit a go-ahead double in the eighth inning as the Sox topped the RailCats 9-8 in the series rubber match on Wednesday night. The RailCats (11-8) suffered their first series loss of the season.
With the game tied at eight in the eighth inning, KC Serna hit a grounder to second under the glove of Danny Pulfer to reach first on an error. Martin followed with a double to the gap in right field to give the Sox their first lead at 9-8.
Cory Patton, who doubles as a reliever and DH for Amarillo, ran into trouble in the ninth as Craig Maddox walked and Steve Liddle doubled to put men on second and third with nobody out. Patton came back to strike out Brian Kolb and Drew Martinez before Chase Tucker grounded out to end the game and give Patton his first save of the season.
Erik Draxton (1-0) threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win while Marco Gonzalez (0-2) gave up the unearned run in the eighth for the loss.
For the fifth time in the six games on the road trip, the RailCats scratched a run across in the first inning. Adam Klein laid down a bunt single on a 3-2 count to lead off the game. Mike Massaro hit into a fielder’s choice and then moved to second on a groundout. Maddox drove Massaro home with a single to right to give the RailCats a 1-0 lead.
Gary added on two more runs in the third. Maddox drove in his second run of the game with a sac fly to right and Steve Liddle followed with an RBI single to center to make it 3-0.
The Sox pulled to within a run in the bottom of the third on a two-run shot to right by Chris Valencia off of RailCats starting pitcher Morgan Coombs.
The RailCats went to work again in the fourth inning. Martinez led off with a single and Tucker followed with a double to move Martinez to third. Pulfer, in his return from the disabled list, drove both of them home with a single to right. Klein then drove in Pulfer with a single to left to extend the lead to 6-2.
Amarillo rallied in the fourth inning, scoring on Trey Ford’s RBI single and a wild pitch by Coombs to cut the deficit to 6-4. Kyle Lindquist came on in relief in the sixth and gave up three hits, including run-scoring doubles by Cory Patton and Trey Ford that tied the game at six apiece.
Gary came right back to take the lead in the seventh as Brian Kolb hit a go-ahead RBI single and another run scored on a double play to put the RailCats ahead 8-6. The lead was short-lived however, as David Peralta tripled home a run in the home half of the inning and Joe Weik knocked him in with a single to knot it up at eight.
Klein delivered his third three-hit game of the season in the loss and Massaro extended his hit streak to 16 games with a single in the sixth. He has reached base in all 19 RailCats games and has the longest hit streak and on-base streak in the American Association this season.
The RailCats have an off day on Thursday as they travel back to Gary and begin a six-game homestand on Friday night at 7:10 against the Sioux Falls Canaries. It will be Fireworks Friday, with a post-game fireworks display and Orlando Magic guard E’Twaun Moore, the former Purdue and East Chicago Central star, will make an appearance at the game.