If the Winnipeg Goldeyes had any chance to catch the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the race for first in the American Association's North Division, that chance took a beating on Saturday night.
In front of 5,135 spectators (many of them from Winnipeg), the largest crowd of the season at Fargo's Newman Outdoor Field, the RedHawks scored 12 runs on 19 hits off three Winnipeg pitchers and blasted the Goldeyes 12-5.
Fargo broke open a 2-2 tie in the fourth with a seven-run barrage and pretty much guaranteed that the Goldeyes will need a miracle to catch them.
With the loss, Winnipeg has now dropped 10 in a row to Fargo, dating back to last season, and lost its first series in the last six. The Goldeyes, who are 0-8 against the RedHawks this season, fell to 37-35 on the season and are now 7 1/2 games out of first in the North. As well, they are now 5 1/2 games behind Gary in the wild card race. With only 28 games remaining, it's going to be quite a challenge to make up lost ground.
The game was particularly disturbing for Goldeyes manager Rick Forney. Angered by the work of home plate umpire Anthony Sheets, Forney was tossed in the bottom of the seventh inning. He left his mark on the proceedings, however, by covering home plate with dirt and then tossing his huge wad of chewing gum on top of it. He tossed his hat for good measure.
This one started out as a pretty good ball game in front of a crowd that included 713 standing-room ticket buyers. The Goldeyes opened the scoring in the first, as Tyler Graham was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a single by Ray Sadler. But Fargo tied it in the bottom of the inning, as Zach Penprase scored on a fielder's choice by C.J. Retherford.
Tim Alberts hit a solo homer off Goldeyes starter Pete Gehle in the second, but the Fish came back and tied it up in the fourth as Ryan Scoma singled and came around to score on a double by Ray Sadler.
But the roof fell in on Gehle and the Goldeyes in the bottom of the fourth, as Fargo scored seven runs on seven hits as the RedHawks sent 11 batters to the plate.
Winnipeg scored a couple of runs in the fifth. Graham was hit, stole second, went to third on a ground out and scored on single by Scoma. Later in the inning, after Sadler had walked and advanced to second on the RBI single by Scoma, he scored on single by Casey Haerther.
The Fish added another run in the seventh, as Scoma walked, stole second went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mazzola, but that was it.
Sadler had a good night for the Fish, going two-for-four with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. Scoma went two-for-four with a walk, a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI. Luis Alen had a single and a double in four trips, as the Fish pounded out nine hits.
Fargo starter Paul Burnside (6-5, 5.80 ERA) got the win, while Gehle, (4-5, 4.84 ERA)) who allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits in just 3.2 innings, took the loss.