Winnipeg Goldeyes pitcher Ace Walker put up his first win of the season as the Goldeyes defeated the Amarillo Sox 4-3 at Shaw Park on Tuesday night in the Winnipeg club’s home opener of the 2012 American Association baseball season before a crowd of 7,422.
Walker tossed seven scoreless innings and struck out six batters, putting him just three strikeouts away from the Goldeyes’ all-time record for strikeouts of 313 held by Goldeyes manager Rick Forney.
The Goldeyes (7-3) and the Sox (6-5) will meet again Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the second of the three-game set between the two teams. Winnipeg will start left-handed pitcher Chris Salamida while Amarillo will send righty Justin Garcia to the mound.
The Goldeyes scored runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings but barely held on for the win when the Sox scored three in the top of the ninth. Goldeyes closer Nick Carr gave up four hits and allowed two runs with one strikeout.
Winnipeg got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning on a two-RBI single by shortstop Price Kendall. The home side led 3-0 after six on right-fielder Ridge Carpenter’s RBI on a fielder’s choice. In the seventh, an error by the Sox third baseman scored Kendall for a 4-0 Winnipeg edge.
The Sox mounted an impressive ninth-inning comeback as centre-fielder Harrison Kain scored on a wild pitch, second baseman Jake Opitz hit an RBI double and then scored on a single by catcher Alberto Espinoza.
Goldeyes’ highlights included left-fielder Dan Barbero going went 2-4 with a double and a run scored in his first Goldeyes start while Kendall had a hit, scored a run and had two RBI.
The Winnipeg team was playing without left-fielder Jon Weber (two games) and first baseman Yurendell de Caster (one game), who were serving suspensions levied by the league after being involved in an eighth-inning altercation during last Saturday’s game in El Paso.