SIOUX CITY, Iowa — For the Winnipeg Goldeyes, it’s fast appearing that a wild-card berth may be the only playoff option left.
The Goldeyes fell 5-2 to the Sioux City Explorers Saturday night, falling 5 1/2 games behind the North Division-leading Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. That’s the bad news.
The good news: The Goldeyes, 42-30, remain three games up on the Kansas City T-Bones for the American Association wild-card berth, and 3 1/2 games ahead of the St. Paul Saints, with 28 games left on the regular-season schedule.
Goldeyes manager Rick Forney didn’t single out any deficiency on his ballclub after the loss, however.
"Their starter was fantastic," Forney said, of Explorers’ left-hander Alain Quijano. "It took us until the eighth inning to get a run off him. It’s hard. Sometimes you’re going to run up against some pitching that’s a little better than you. That was the case tonight."
In fact, the Goldeyes out-hit Sioux City 11-10, giving the visitors their fifth consecutive double-digit game in hits. After trailing 5-0, the Goldeyes loaded the bases to start the top of the eighth inning, but managed only one run when Luis Alen’s sacrifice scored Price Kendall.
After closing the gap to 5-2, Winnipeg managed to get the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth — with veteran Yurendell de Caster at the plate and runners at first and second. But Explorers reliever Chris Bodishbaugh fanned de Caster to end any rally hopes.
The loss ended the Goldeyes modest winning streak at two, and now leaves the Fish at 3-2 on their current six-game road trip, which ends Sunday in Sioux City.
The Goldeyes lanky right-hander Dexter Carter — who has been working out of the bullpen all season — made his first start in a Winnipeg uniform with mixed results. After surrendering a three-spot in the first inning, the 25-year-old settled down to eventually allow three runs on four hits over four innings of work. Carter walked two and struck out four.
"He gave us four good innings," Forney noted. "I’m certainly not disappointed."
The Goldeyes will send veteran starter Ace Walker to the mound Sunday night, before heading home to open a three-game series against Sioux Falls Monday night.