Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Barrows batters Fish

Hits three HRs, drives in five as Explorers win third straight

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Sioux CITY left-fielder Peter Barrows drove in all his team's runs as the Explorers beat the Goldeyes 5-2 at Shaw Park on Friday night.

And with that, the Goldeyes lost a third straight game and failed to clinch the American Association's wild-card playoff berth.

A crowd of 5,715 saw the Explorers (44-53) beat the Goldeyes (54-43) in a game that lasted under two hours. The Explorers are second last in the league and long eliminated from post-season contention.

The Goldeyes, who lost three of the four games against the Explorers and their 10th series loss of the season, are still in the hunt for the wild-card with the St. Paul Saints, who lost 7-4 in Gary Friday night. Winnipeg's magic number for clinching the wild card is one.

"We're in control of our own destiny. We need to focus here and now on what's in front of us and take care of our business," said Winnipeg left-fielder Kyle Day who hit his fourth home run of the season to go with a third-inning double.

"If we do that, we're going to be in a good situation."

Winnipeg desperately needs to win a game and things aren't getting any easier this weekend.

The Goldeyes now host the North Division champion Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for a three-game set beginning tonight at 6 p.m. in Shaw Park.

The Goldeyes are expected to start righty Matt Rusch (9-4).

On Friday night the Explorers scored first for the fourth straight game as Barrows crushed a three-run home run in the top of the third inning. The Goldeyes got on the board in the bottom of the inning when Day scored on a 6-4-3 double play.

Day scored Winnipeg's second run in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run.

But Barrows continued to batter the baseball, hitting solo home runs in the sixth and the eighth. His first two were off starter Chris Salamida (5-7), who went seven innings, allowing seven hits and four runs. The third dinger was off reliever Brian Beuning.

After the Goldeyes acquired designated hitter Barbaro Canizares while on the road last week, manager Rick Forney started platooning second baseman Jose Duran and Day.

If the Goldeyes are facing a left-hander, then right-hand-hitting Duran is in the lineup. When the opponent puts a righty on the mound (like Friday-night starter Jason Jarvis, who pitched a complete game), then the left-hitting Day is in the lineup.

It was the second night in a row the Explorers got a complete game out of their starter.

"I haven't really don't that well against left-handed pitching and Duran's done good," said Day. "(Forney's) going to play the matchups -- that's the situation we're in right now. We've just got to be there for our teammates and contribute to wins any way we can. We're in the playoff hunt so the No. 1 priority is getting into the playoffs."

When Day plays left field as he did Friday, Josh Mazzola plays first base, de Caster plays second and Coles plays right field.

When Duran is at second base as was the case in Thursday's 10-1 loss, Mazzola plays right, de Caster plays first and Coles plays left.

"We don't have a whole lot of balance in our lineup right now with right-handed and left-handed hitters," said Forney. "We're not getting a whole lot of production."

Centre-fielder Chris Roberson is a switch hitter and Day is the team's only left-handed batter since Jon Weber was released last week.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 1, 2012 C5

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