Huge early deficit? No problem. Blown save in the ninth inning? No problem. Down to the last out in the bottom of the ninth? No problem.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes (16-9) came back from all of that in a 7-6 walk-off victory over the Grand Prairie AirHogs (10-15) Tuesday night at Shaw Park before 5,549 fans.
The win pulls the Goldeyes within half-a-game of the St. Paul Saints for first place in the American Association's North Division.
Grand Prairie took a big lead by scoring five runs with two out in the top of the second inning, which was highlighted by a three-run home run by Palmer Karr Jr.
After that though, Salamida settled in and gave Winnipeg a chance to get back into the game.
The Goldeyes started their climb in the bottom of the third when Ryan Pineda singled in Josh Mazzola, who reached first base on an error.
Following two scoreless innings, the Goldeyes tied the game in the sixth inning. With one run in, Donnie Webb hit a two-run home run off the Manitoba Hydro superboard in right-centre field. Four batters later, Pineda singled in Mazzola again, as the Goldeyes belted out six hits in the inning.
The Goldeyes missed a glorious opportunity by leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, but Casey Haerther erased that memory with a leadoff solo home run an inning later. It was his first home run of the season.
“I was seeing it pretty well tonight,” Haerther said. “The one I hit out was a fastball middle-in. I've been looking for that swing for a while and I finally got it. That gave me a lot of confidence right there.”
Grand Prairie battled back to score a run off Goldeyes reliever Kyle Bellamy in the top of the ninth, but Winnipeg answered with a two-out RBI single from Haerther in the bottom of the ninth. Winnipeg tallied three consecutive two-out hits in the final inning to pull off the comeback, as Reggie Abercrombie and Mazzola led it off.
“Without Abercrombie and Mazzola ahead of me, that would have never happened,” Haerther said. “It all happened with two outs, which was fun.
“It was a great team win. We were down 5-0 most of the game.”
Haerther had four hits in the game for the Goldeyes, as did Ryan Pineda. Along with Webb, they also had two RBI. Despite the five-run second inning, Salamida went 6 1/3 innings and took a no-decision.
Bellamy got the win for Winnipeg. Despite the blown save, he got a double play with the bases loaded to end the top of the ninth.
Bennett Whitmore suffered the loss for Grand Prairie.
The rematch goes Tuesday night at Shaw Park. In a battle of lefties, Nick Hernandez (1-0, 5.75) will take the ball for Winnipeg against Grand Prairie's Brandon Bargas (2-2, 5.80).