It's a simple recipe: get a quality start, some timely hits and a few solid defensive plays when required. Do that often enough and you should win more baseball games than you lose.
Monday night, in front of 5,088 spectators at Shaw Park, the Winnipeg Goldeyes got a two-run homer from Josh Mazzola, a solid start from Pete Gehle and some terrific defensive plays from the likes of Josh Moesquit and Josh Mazzola, as the Fish built a 6-1 lead and hung on to beat the Trois-Rivieres Aigles 6-5 in a thriller.
With the win, the Goldeyes won their third straight game, improved to 34-32 on the season and 5-2 on this 11-game homestand. By taking three-of-four from Trois-Rivieres, the Goldeyes have now won four consecutive series.
"We kind of put ourselves in harm's way by making two errors and allowing two unearned runs," said Goldeyes manager Rick Forney. "But the bottom line is, we got out of here with a win and another series victory and it's not easy to win three-of-four against any team. It's even tougher against that team over there. They're pretty good. They scrap and claw, they never quit and they have some good arms over there. We were fortunate to beat them."
Winnipeg opened the scoring in the first inning, as Amos Ramon singled, Ryan Scoma singled and Casey Haerther doubled to drive in both base runners. Then Mazzola hit a bomb over the left-centre field wall to give Winnipeg a 4-0 advantage.
After Trois-Rivieres scored a run off Gehle in the top of the second, Winnipeg answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Moesquit beat out an infield hit, Tyler Graham beat out a bunt single and Ramon drove home Moesquit with a solid single to left.
Winnipeg made it 6-1 in the third as Haerther led off with a single, Fehlandt Lentini singled and then Moesquit singled to drive home Haerther from second.
The Aigles scored a run in the fourth, two more in the fifth on a two-run double by Cam Kneeland and one in the ninth on an RBI single by Kneeland, but Kaohi Downing and Chris Kissock came out of the bullpen to shut down the visitors in the seventh and eighth innings and then closer Patrick Keating survived a one-run ninth to give Winnipeg its third straight win and fourth straight series victory.
"Right now, we're doing enough to win games," said Forney. "For a month or so there, we were doing just enough to lose. But now we're getting it done and until you're mathematically eliminated from the playoffs you have to keep fighting for every win."
Red-hot Casey Haerther had another big game going two-for-four with two runs scored and two driven in. Kevin Moesquit, who made a brilliant defensive play in the eighth to potentially save a run, and Amos Ramon each had two hits, a run scored and an RBI. Mazzola had two hits, including that big two-run homer.
Gehle (4-4, 4.13 ERA) got the win for Winnipeg, while Keating (2.90 ERA) picked up his 13th save. Starter Luis Munoz (2-2, 3.60 ERA) pitched a complete game, but still suffered the loss for Trois-Rivieres.
The Goldeyes will open a four-games-in-three-nights series with the Lincoln Saltdogs on Tuesday night. It will be a doubleheader (two seven-inning games) beginning at 6 p.m. at Shaw Park.