By Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming)
WINNIPEG — They might have been tired following a 30-plus hour bus trip back from their nine-game Texas road trip to start the season, but the Winnipeg Goldeyes held on late to beat the Amarillo Sox 4-3 in their home opener in front of 7,422 fans, just 59 short of a sell out on a crisp Tuesday night at Shaw Park.
The Sox came in red hot, scoring a bewildering 48 runs in the final three of their six-game winning streak coming in.
Winnipeg starting hurler Ace Walker earned his first win of the season in an impressive seven complete, collecting six strikeouts and allowing no walks or runs while allowing a lone sixth inning hit.
Walker’s 310 career strikeouts with Winnipeg leaves the right-hander just three shy of the franchise’s all-time mark set by pitcher turned field manager Rick Forney back in 2000.
Goldeyes right-fielder Ridge Carpenter laid a perfect bunt to load the bases in the fifth, setting up shortstop Price Kendall to hit a two-run single to shallow left. In the sixth, Carpenter hit another infield single to score catcher Luis Alen to give the Fish a 3-0 lead.
A Matt Cusick infield drive forced an Amarillo error by third baseman Matt Tucker, scoring Kendall from second. Winnipeg lead 4-0 through seven.
The Sox rallied for three runs in the ninth on Goldeyes pitchers Kahoi Downing and Nick Carr, but it proved to be too little too late.
Amarillo (6-5) remains atop the American Association’s South Division. They wrap their series against the North Division leading Goldeyes with games Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Thursday at 11 a.m.