With a kiss of the bat and some late-inning belief, the Saltdogs were in business against Gary Southshore at Haymarket Park, but was all for not as the Saltdogs dropped Tuesday's contest 10-9.

Cesar Valera's smooch of his bat in the eighth inning helped the Lincoln Saltdogs rally for five runs to cut the RailCats lead to 10-9.

After Joe Robbins hit a bases-loaded RBI single, Valera doubled in two more runs and Curt Smith kept the momentum going with a two-RBI double of his own. Smith reached third when the throw from the outfield went home in a failed attempt to stop Valera, but Smith was stranded there.

The defense prevailed in the top of the ninth to give the offense a chance, working around a walk and turning a double play to bring up the coveted "Drama Dogs" scenario.

The Lincoln bats got the tying and go-ahead runners on base after Tommy Mendonca struck out and Juan Martinez was called out after a disputed dropped third strike.

Christian Ibarra was hit by a pitch and Brent Dean beat out an infield single before the RailCats struck out Jorge De Leon to end the game.

After Lincoln plated eight runs in the fifth inning to break Monday's game, an 8-5 Saltdogs win, the RailCats responded with eight runs of their own in the fifth inning Tuesday to jump out in front.

Derek Gordon, who has been solid for Lincoln all season long on the mound, gave up nine runs in just 4.1 innings. Gordon's outing was his shortest since May 25.

Lincoln held a brief 3-1 lead early in the game. Joe Robbins answered Gary's first-inning home run with a leadoff homer of his own, then Dean hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second.

The two teams matchup again Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7431 or tgray@journalstar.com.

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