The Winnipeg Goldeyes enjoyed their time away from home.
The Goldeyes completed a sweep of the Sioux Falls Canaries with an 8-5 victory on Sunday afternoon. It was the sixth straight win for Winnipeg, who finished their final road trip of the season at 6-1.
Winnipeg remains 1 ½ games back of the wild card lead with seven games remaining in the regular season. The wild card leading Gary SouthShore RailCats finished a sweep of their own on Sunday by hanging on to defeat the St. Paul Saints 6-3.
"They played solid pretty much the whole road trip," said Goldeyes pitching coach Jamie Vermilyea. "We won some big ballgames that we needed to win and we tried to put ourselves in good position for the last week."
Josh Mazzola got the scoring going for the Goldeyes in the second inning. His triple scored Ryan Scoma for the game's opening run and three pitches later, he would score on a Casey Haerther groundout to give Winnipeg an early 2-0 lead.
The Canaries would respond in the third with a pair of their own and the game was tied at two.
A pair of home runs in the middle innings would help Winnipeg take control of the game. In the fifth, Kevin Moesquit hit a two run shot off Sioux Falls starter Kyle Ruwe to restore the two run lead. Then, in the next inning, Ray Sadler took Ruwe deep for another two-run home run and the Goldeyes led by four.
The Goldeyes weren't finished in sixth. Haerther scored from third on a wild pitch then Moesquit drove in the inning's fourth run on a RBI single to make it 8-2. But after Goldeyes starter Matt Rusch exited the game, the Canaries made things interesting.
In the eighth, Reggie Abercrombie blasted a three-run home run off Kaohi Downing to cut the Winnipeg lead to three. Downing was replaced by Brendan Lafferty, who promptly gave up back-to-back singles. However, with the potential tying run at the plate, Lafferty was able to induce and start a 1-6-3 double play to end the threat.
Rusch improved to 7-4 on the season with the victory. Coming off his best start of the season on Wednesday in St. Paul, Rusch allowed two runs on only five hits in seven innings of work. He struck out seven Canaries.
"He pitched well coming off a short days rest," said Vermilyea. "He gave us seven strong innings and took advantage of them hacking early."
Patrick Keating shut the door on the Canaries in the ninth to record his 17th save of the season.
Ruwe took the loss for Sioux Falls to drop his overall record to 10-7.