Milk spilled over late for the Lincoln Saltdogs as the Milwaukee Milkmen rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Saltdogs 4-2 Tuesday afternoon at Haymarket Park.
Lincoln's Cameron McVey came on in the top of the ninth in a save opportunity after John Sansone hit a homer in the seventh for a 2-1 Saltdog lead.
McVey allowed back-to-back home runs, and the Milkmen added another run in the inning with an RBI single to take the series opener.
"Guys are playing hard — we are in position to win games, we are just having problems getting the last three outs of games," Lincoln manager Bobby Brown said.
The Saltdogs have now dropped five of their last six games to move to 15-16.
John Brownell went seven innings, and giving up just one run on five hits while striking out three for Lincoln. That allowed the Saltdog hitters to wait out Milwaukee starter T.J. House. The Milkmen's starter moved to 5-0 and has picked up two victories against Lincoln this season.
“I felt good,” Brownell said. “I had the one mistake shaking (catcher) Tyler (Moore) off and threw a curveball, which was my worst pitch today. I should have stuck with what he called.
“It was a real bounce-back start for me after a real rough one (a 9-1 loss in Sioux City in which Brownell allowed eight runs). It was great, defense played great all the way around and I couldn't be happier with how the team played.”
A total of five home runs were hit Tuesday as the wind blew from left to right across the Haymarket Park outfield.
Lincoln's Curt Smith opened the scoring in the bottom of the second with his fifth home run of the season, a blast into the Milwaukee bullpen, before Brownell gave up his only blemish of the game in the fourth.
Tied 1-1 in the seventh, Sansone put the Saltdogs back in front with his sixth of the year and the game's third home run before Milwaukee hit two off McVey in the ninth.
Jose Rosario turned on a 2-0 count that sliced through the wind over the left-center outfield wall, and Nolan Earley put a dent into the Haymarket scoreboard as the next batter for the game's fifth home run. Adam Walker added the insurance run, scoring on a single after doubling for the Milkmen's third consecutive hit to begin the inning.
“(Milwaukee) is pretty balanced in their lineup,” Brown said. “Their starting pitcher throws strikes, their closer is outstanding. They are a pretty balanced team.”
Lincoln will try and right the ship against the Milkmen, who have now taken three of four games this season against the Saltdogs, at 7 p.m. Wednesday.