By Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming)
Exactly one quarter into their season, the North Division-leading Winnipeg Goldeyes (18-7) had a chance to hold the best record among all 13 teams in the American Association with their seventh-consecutive win on Wednesday afternoon.
It also would’ve clinched their fourth series sweep — an impressive possibility considering the five total produced during their very successful 2011 campaign.
However, the Lincoln Saltdogs (12-15) had other plans for the sunny matinée in front of 7,015 in downtown Winnipeg, handing the Fish a 5-2 loss.
The Saltdogs put up runs in the fourth, sixth, and seventh innings, giving Goldeyes starter Ace Walker (3-1, 3.68 ERA) his first loss of the season. Walker allowed all five Lincoln runs, including 12 hits over 6.2 innings of work.
Lincoln right-hander Ryan Sheldon cooled the same Winnipeg bats that scored 10 the night before, throwing eight complete shutout innings and four strikeouts.
“We just got handcuffed today by a really good pitcher,” said Winnipeg bench boss Rick Forney of Sheldon.
The Goldeyes were able to rally for a pair in the ninth, and then loaded the bases with two out.
“It made it fun,” added Forney. “It wasn’t a very fun day, but it was exciting. We got the winning run to the plate. You just never know what’s going to happen.”
“We just didn’t do a good job earlier in the game.”
After just six contests at home, Winnipeg now heads out on another road trip through Sioux City, Iowa and Sioux Falls, SD. Once back home on June 21, the Fish play 19 of their next 22 at Shaw Park through mid-July.
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More bad news came out of Goldeyes camp Wednesday as the team placed top closer Nick Carr on the inactive list. The 25-year-old right-hander suffered an injury to the labrum in his throwing shoulder that may keep him sidelined for the remainder of the season.
“Everybody needs to step up. I’m not sure which way we’re going to go just yet. (Craig) James is capable, and (Kahoi) Downing is capable so we’ll have to evaluate it.”
Carr is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA in 11 appearances this year. The earliest he can technically return from the IL is in 30 days.