It's a good time to be on a winning streak for the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
Winnipeg (46-31) stretched its American Association winning streak to four games with a 7-1 win over the Wichita Wingnuts (45-33) on Thursday .
A crowd of 5,948 saw Goldeyes relief pitcher Brian Beuning earn a three-inning save after rejoining the team earlier in the day.
Yurendell de Caster put an exclamation point on the victory in the bottom of the seventh inning when the second baseman crushed a three-run homer.
"Right now, it's time to play every team like it's the playoffs. You have to play like you want to play forever, play every game hard like we are doing," said de Caster, who hit his eighth dinger of the season.
While Wichita is leading the Central Division, the Goldeyes are four games back of North Division-leader Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and have a four-game lead for the wild-card playoff berth over the Kansas City T-Bones.
It's a pennant run now, said Goldeyes manager Rick Forney.
"You need to find a way to start stringing some wins together at this time of the year, especially knowing the importance of each and every one of them regardless of who you're playing," said Forney, whose team has 23 games left in the regular season. "This is a big series, not just for our club but for Wichita also. Kansas City (2.5 games back of Wichita) is pretty close behind those guys."
The Goldeyes hold the edge on Wichita, winning the first series 2-1 against the Wingnuts in Wichita.
The two team will meet again tonight at 7 in the second game of a three-game set at Shaw Park. The Goldeyes are expected to send Ace Walker (6-3, 3.27) to the mound with the Wingnuts to counter with right-hander Josh Lowey (12-3, 2.94), who leads the league in wins.
In Thursday's game, Zach Baldwin got the win in his just second start of this season for the Goldeyes going 5.2 innings and allowing just one run on five hits.
Wichita opened the scoring when first baseman Greg Porter's sacrifice fly drove in his team's first run in the top of the first. The Goldeyes replied with a pair of their own for a 2-1 edge. With bases loaded, designated hitter Jon Weber hit a single to score Price Kendall followed by centre-fielder Chris Roberson scoring on Luis Alen's sacrifice fly.
The Goldeyes took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Right-fielder Kyle Day's single scored Josh Mazzola and then Day scored on a stand-up triple by third baseman Amos Ramon.
At the bottom of the order, Ramon is on a six-game hitting streak while Mazzola and Day have hits in the last five games.
DIAMOND DUST: Shortstop Jose Duran missed a second straight game with a tweaked hamstring and was replaced by Kendall, who went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Roberson also scored a pair...The Goldeyes wore their navy blue jerseys for a fourth straight game.
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