Don’t look now, but the Lincoln Saltdogs have won three of their last four series.
Lincoln closed out the Amarillo Sox with a 7-0 win Sunday in front of 4,339 fans at Haymarket thanks to a complete-game shutout by pitcher Brandon Sinnery, and three home runs that brought in five of the Dogs’ seven runs. The Dogs took two in the three-game set.
“That’s something that we’re good enough to do every day,” Lincoln left fielder Matt Forgatch said.
Forgatch, who finished 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, contributed Lincoln’s second two-run homer of the game in the fourth inning.
“It’s frustrating; we haven’t been able to find a way to do it until now," Forgatch said. "Hopefully this can spark us a little bit; we can get hot in these last two weeks.”
Forgatch said Lincoln has struggled this season putting together a good offensive game when the pitching is hot, and struggled on defense when the bats come alive. Fortunately for Lincoln, seven runs were an unnecessary luxury with Sinnery on the mound. He struck out four and walked one, while stretching his record to 4-0 since joining Lincoln on July 27.
“I had all my pitches working, all three of them,” Sinnery said.”I was throwing the ball for strikes … (catcher Chad) McMurray called a really nice game back there and made some nice defensive plays that helped me out.”
Lincoln center fielder Sean Smith sparked the defense with a highlight-reel running catch at the left-field wall, stealing a two-run home run from Amarillo. Smith said team doctors told him the play gave him a low-grade MCL tear, but he expects to play Monday against Sioux Falls.
“He can really patrol an outfield,” Forgatch said. “When you get a spark plug like that in the outfield it’s a big play, a huge momentum shift. That’s huge to get an out right there.”
Smith’s catch ended the fourth inning for Amarillo, stranding a base runner; Sinnery left a total of six Amarillo runners on base.
At 35-50, the Dogs are still sitting in last place in the American Association Central division, but Lincoln is 12-8 since July 28.
“It’s games like these that are great,” Forgatch said. “Winnings series is the way to do it. If we’re going to get back in this, that’s the way to do it. It’s a never-say-die mentality.”