The Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team ended its road schedule on Monday night with a 4-0 win over the Saints at St. Paul, Minn.
Pitcher Matt Rusch (9-4, 2.46) got the win for the Goldeyes (53-40) which was their third straight in the four-game series against St. Paul (50-43). Winnipeg now has a three-game lead over St. Paul for the American Association’s wildcard playoff berth. The Goldeyes’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth is now five, heading home.
Tuesday at Shaw Park, the Goldeyes will begin the battle for their playoff lives hosting the Sioux City Explorers (41-52) for four games. The regular season will end Sept. 1-3 with a three-game set against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (61-32).
Arch-rival Fargo has clinched first in the North division leaving the Goldeyes one last chance at post-season play.
Nothing like having a couple nail-biter series, dipped in a little desperation to earn a playoff spot, to end the season for a team that led its division for the first 53 days of the season. But that is where a rash of injuries, an under-achieving bullpen and inconsistent hitting brought the Goldeyes.
"We’ve been make-or-break for a week or more already. With some of the moves Rick (manager Forney) has made, it’s reinforced that message that it’s time to step it up or we’re all going home early," Goldeyes veteran pitcher Ace Walker (9-4) who pitched Saturday’s 5-2 win over St. Paul, said in a telephone interview from St. Paul on Monday. The Goldeyes had an 8-2 victory Sunday after having lost 1-0 in 12 innings last Friday against the Saints.
In Monday's win, the Goldeyes were led by catcher Luis Alen going 2-for-2 at the plate with a run scored, outfielder Kyle Day with a hit, a run scored and an RBI, and centre-fielder Chris Roberson with a hit, a run scored and his 31st stolen base of the season. Shortstop Price Kendall made a key catch to end the eighth inning causing St. Paul to leave bases loaded.
Winnipeg's record on the road for 2012 is 29-21.