The Sioux Falls Canaries survived a 90 minute rain delay, and once again found a way to battle back for a 5-4 win over the Fargo Moorhead Redhawks on Saturday afternoon at Newman Outdoor Field.
Taylor Stanton had a quick 1-2-3 inning in the top half of the 1st inning, striking out two Canaries batters before sitting down during the 1 hour and 36 minute rain delay.
Stanton came back out after the delay and retired the first 10 batters of the afternoon overall before giving up a one-out walk to B.J. Guinn in the top of the 4th inning. Guinn scored the first Birds run of the day later on in the inning after Blake Schmit dropped an RBI single into shallow left field.
Canaries starting pitcher Joe Bircher battled the dangerous Redhawks lineup for seven strong innings on the way to his fifth win of the season. Bircher (5-6, 2.70 ERA) allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out nine batters in the win.
The left-hander retired the first three batters of the afternoon before giving up a leadoff single to Josh Mazzola in the top of the 2nd inning. K.D. Kang brought Mazzola home two pitches later with a two-run home run over the wall in left to give the Redhawks an early 2-0 lead.
Bircher gave up another run in the bottom of the third inning on a Ryan Pineda RBI double, but settled down after that. The Omaha, NE native retired 10 of the next 12 batters, but ran into a jam in the bottom of the 7th inning. Bircher gave up back-to-back singles to Humphries and Charlie Valerio before Mike Gilmartin made it a 4-1 ball game with an RBI single to right. Bircher picked up back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning, but left the game trailing 4-1.
Guinn led off the top of the 8th inning with his second walk of the day, putting a runner on for first baseman Jake Taylor, who smashed a towering two-run home run (11) over the left field wall to make it a one-run game. The Birds would add two more runs in the inning to take a 5-4 lead over the Redhawks. Taylor Zeutenhorst tied the game at 4-4 with an RBI sac-fly before Blake Schmit came home on a passed ball to give the Birds their first, and only lead of the night.
Canaries relief pitcher Madison Boer worked a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the 8th inning, before closer Jose Ortega wrapped up the game with his second save of the season. Ortega gave up a one-out double to former Canary Brian Humphries, but he was left stranded on base to end the game.
Bircher set a new season high in wins with his fifth victory of the year on Saturday afternoon. The southpaw also finished the day with nine strikeouts, giving him exactly 100 on the season. His strikeout total currently ranks 6th in the American Association in 2016, while his 2.70 ERA is good for 5th best in the league.
The series wraps up on Sunday afternoon RHP Ray Hanson getting the start for the Canaries. First pitch at Newman Outdoor Field is scheduled for 1:02 PM. Fans can listen to all of the action on AM-1230, FM-98.1 Sioux Falls Sports Radio KWSN.
The Canaries have an off-day on Monday, but return to Sioux Falls Stadium on Tuesday, August 30th to battle the Gary-Southshore Railcats in the final homestand of the 2016 season. Contact the Canaries ticket office for information regarding single game or season ticket options by calling 605-336-6060 or visit the website at www.sfcanaries.com for more information.