IT was such a tough night for the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Friday at Shaw Park, skipper Rick Forney didn't even stick around for it.
Of course, it wasn't his choice as Forney was tossed out of the game for arguing a call at first base in the sixth inning and his team was tossed around the park by the Wichita Wingnuts, (46-33) who defeated the Goldeyes (46-32) 8-3 before a crowd of 6,096.
The Goldeyes saw their four-game winning streak come to an end but can still win the series. Winnipeg and Wichita meet again tonight at 6 p.m. for the final game of their three-game set.
Starting pitchers are expected to be Chris Salamida (3-5, 4.48) for Winnipeg and Wichita lefty Anthony Capra (1-1, 5.28).
The Wingnuts, who had a field day out-hitting the Goldeyes 15-3, lead the Central Division.
The Goldeyes, who committed three errors, continue to hold the American Association's wild-card playoff berth with a 3.5-game margin over the Kansas City T-Bones.
Injuries have plagued the Goldeyes' position players and, just when some players were starting to heal up a bit, it appeared shortstop Price Kendall reinjured his foot during a pick-off play at second base.
Goldeyes' pitcher Ace Walker (6-4) took the loss but was otherwise unscathed, which was good news as he has now pitched 112 innings so far this season.
"Knock on wood, we're on pace to have four guys with over 100 innings (pitched)," Forney said after batting practice earlier in the day. "Ace is already (at 112.2), Matt Rusch is 106.1, (Todd) Privett's at 88, so he's going to pass it, (Chris) Salamida is at 84 so he will pass it.
"They're kind of the root of what we're doing around here.
"If you don't have good starting pitching, you're not going to have a chance to win. If you're getting your doors blown off for the first three or four innings, you can kind of forget about it. They've been fantastic. Hopefully they can finish the season strong."
The Goldeyes weren't getting their doors blown off Friday until the fourth inning when the Wingnuts scored four runs on five hits to take a 5-1 lead.
The Goldeyes got two runs in the fourth when Yurendell de Caster was driven in by catcher Luis Alen's double and Jon Weber scored on a put-out of first baseman Josh Mazzola.
The beatdown continued in the sixth inning as Wichita put up another three runs and the Goldeyes committed a pair of errors.
Kendall got Winnipeg's first hit leading off the first inning while Amos Ramon's double in the bottom of the eighth was the third hit.
Winnipeg is now five games back of North Division-leading Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (51-27).
The Goldeyes, who won the 2011 North Division title, could still catch the RedHawks in the North.
"We're just trying to win as many games as we can," said Forney.
"If that means we catch Fargo and supercede them, then great. We can't get caught up in watching what they do. That can't be part of your everyday routine. We have seven games left against Fargo so hopefully we find a way to win seven of them."
The Goldeyes play a four-game series in Fargo on Aug. 13-16 and then host the RedHawks to close out the regular season Sept. 1-3.
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