Monday: Cleburne 6, Lincoln 5.
What went right: Lincoln laced 13 hits in the offensive effort, led by three apiece from Curt Smith and Dashenko Ricardo. Smith added his seventh home run of the season with a solo blast in the third inning to give Lincoln a 2-0 lead. Smith's home run became bittersweet, as Joe Robbins was caught stealing the previous pitch. Nathaniel Maggio blasted a home run in the second inning to put Lincoln on the board, as the Saltdogs scored a run in the sixth, seventh and eighth to fight their way back.
What went wrong: Former Saltdog Pichi Balet hit Cleburne's second triple of the bottom of the seventh to break a 4-4 tie and give Cleburne a 6-4 lead. Lincoln led 4-3 to begin the inning, but the RailRoaders capitalized on a walk and knotted the score on Nick Van Stratten's triple early in the inning. Lincoln got the tying and go-ahead runs on second and first in the top of the ninth, but could not score. Cleburne also scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to chase Saltdog starter Seth Webster, who returned from the disabled list Monday.
Streaks: The Saltdogs have now lost three straight series openers.
Dog bytes: Webster was activated Monday, as the Saltdogs made room by releasing relief pitcher Nigel Nootbar on Sunday. Webster hit the DL July 27 after hurting his shoulder during a start July 21 at Haymarket Park. Webster leads the Saltdogs with eight quality starts and previously lasted at least six innings before being injured. The right-hander has not allowed more than four runs all season. Nootbar was 0-1 with a 12.00 ERA in two appearances for Lincoln.
Next: The two teams play again Tuesday at 7 p.m.