The Winnipeg Goldeyes threatened late, but the comeback bid was started just a little too late and came up just a little too short.
The Goldeyes lost 7-4 to the Quebec Capitales on Sunday afternoon to drop their third game of the four-game series and fall three games below .500 for the first time this season.
Winnipeg slips six-and-a-half games back of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for first place in the American Association's North Division.
"We lost some momentum losing that close ball game last night and you could see it out here today," Goldeyes pitching coach Jamie Vermilyea said on the TSN 1290 post-game show. "We came out flat, didn't take advantage of an opportunity or two early and fell behind. We couldn't really dig ourselves out of that hole.
"I give the guys credit, though. They didn't just cash it in in that ninth inning when they could have. They strung together some good at-bats and made it a little interesting there at the end. Unfortunately, it's tough to overcome a six-run deficit."
Winnipeg tallied one run in the eighth inning and three times in the ninth inning to put a dent into Quebec's 7-0 lead. In fact, the Goldeyes brought the tying run to the plate in Josh Mazzola in the top of the ninth inning, but he popped up to Quebec catcher Royce Consigli to end the game.
"(Mazzola) is one of our power hitters and (swing for the fences) is what we want him to do in that situation," Vermilyea said. "We want to get those three runs."
Seven of Winnipeg's 11 hits in the game came in the eighth and ninth innings.
Quebec scored a run in the first and third innings to take an early 2-0 lead. The Capitales then blew the game open with three runs in the fourth inning off Goldeyes starter Mark Hardy, who stayed in the game after taking a line drive to the stomach early in the contest, but suffered his third loss of the season.
Allen Caldwell relieved Hardy in the fifth inning and was touched for a run in his only inning of work. Quebec also got to Winnipeg reliever Chris Kissock for their final run of the game in the seventh inning.
Tyler Graham, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games, and Mazzola each had three hits for Winnipeg, while Ryan Scoma tallied three RBI, including two in the ninth inning.
The Goldeyes stranded 10 runners on base in the contest, including leaving runners in scoring position on six occasions.
Dustin Crenshaw went eight innings to get the win for Quebec.
The Goldeyes now travel to Trois-Rivieres to begin a three-game series against the Aigles tomorrow night. The pre-game show on TSN 1290 with Paul Edmonds begins at 5:30pm ct.