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Birds blow huge lead in Lincoln



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LINCOLN, Neb.  –  The Sioux Falls Canaries jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first inning on Wednesday night, but they could not contain the Lincoln Saltdogs in a 9-8 loss at Haymarket Park.

The Canaries seemed well on their way to victory after Reggie Abercrombie hit a three-run home run in the first and Stephen King launched a grand slam.  But the Saltdogs responded in the bottom of the first with four runs, and they scored the final five runs of the game to overtake the Birds and clinch the series.

Canaries pitching struggled all night, beginning with starter Adam Champion. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings giving up six runs, four earned, while matching a season-high with six walks. Leading 8-6 in the seventh, Canaries reliever Jordan Whatcott allowed the bases loaded and a run-scoring single and exited without retiring a batter. Matt Daly then entered and issued a game-tying walk. Tyler Goodro later scored the winning run on Daly’s second wild pitch of the inning.

Lincoln relievers P.J. Zocchi and R.J. Rodriguez each tossed a perfect inning in the eighth and ninth. Rodriguez notched his league-leading 25th saving, tying a Saltdogs single-season record.

Lincoln starter Mike Burns (5-4) was a study in contrasts, allowing just two more hits and one run after the first inning. The only tally was a solo home run by J.P. Ramirez. The Canaries had just two base runners after the first inning. Burns gave up eight runs, three earned, on seven hits. He walked one and struck out seven.

Marcos Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to 10 games with the Canaries, going 2-for-4.

Whatcott (0-6) suffered his first loss in relief.

The finale of the three-game series is at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, August 8.
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