STARTING pitcher Matt Rusch stole the game and closer Dexter Carter drove the getaway car.
With a contingent of RCMP looking on from the stands, the Winnipeg Goldeyes earned a much-needed lift with a 3-2 win over the Sioux City Explorers on Canadian Heritage Night, ending Winnipeg's three-game losing skid at Shaw Park.
Rusch (5-1) got the win, striking out 10 of 25 batters he faced while Carter picked up the save and had the crowd roaring as he threw strikes in the 94-miles-per-hour range in the ninth.
"I actually got a little bit of a chill when I heard that," said the 6-foot-6 Carter, who recorded his third save of the season and of his professional career. "It feels good (to get a save) because I used to be a starter myself and you have to have faith in your late-inning guys and your bullpen. It's always a team game. Tonight we pitched well, played defence well, got some key hits when we needed them and we won the ball game. And we needed that too."
Rusch's 10 strikeouts were one short of the season high of 11 by Fabian Williamson, whose contract was purchased last week by the Atlanta Braves.
"It felt good right from the beginning, got in a nice little groove there, me and Louie (catcher Luis Alen) just went to work... it was a good night," Rusch said. "I take a lot of pride in getting wins after losses so this is a little extra special. At home we'd lost (three) straight so it's a big win for us and we want to keep building off that."
Winnipeg and Sioux City (18-21) meet again today in the second of a three-game set, with lefty Chris Salamida (1-2, 4.24) going to the mound for the Goldeyes and Ty Marotz (2-1, 7.00) taking the hill for Sioux City.
The Goldeyes (22-15) led 3-0 after four innings. A sacrifice fly by Alen scored centre-fielder Chris Roberson in the first inning. In the second, third baseman Josh Mazzola scored on a double by designated hitter Kyle Day. In the fourth, a sacrifice fly by right-fielder Ridge Carpenter brought in Mazzola.
In the sixth inning, the Explorers got on the board after a back-to-back doubles, with left-fielder Yusuke Inoguchi scoring on designated hitter Peter Barrows' two-bagger.
After Rusch left the game, the Explorers staged a comeback attempt in the eighth, with a pair of hits and a run off reliever Kaohi Downing.
Day's double was the first extra-base hit for Winnipeg in two games, while Mazzola went 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored.
The Goldeyes hold a two-game lead atop the American Association's North Division.
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