One game. One team moves on.
(3) Alliterative Appellations 6
(2) Special Ks 7
Ks win series 3-2
Jim Lemon made the final out in each of the Special Ks’ playoff losses.
He made sure that would not happen again.
After Special fell behind 4-0, Lemon hit two home runs to propel the Ks to a 7-4 lead, and the bullpen held off an Alliterative rally to advance to the Minneapolis Mid-Round by a score of 7-6.
Early in the game, it appeared as if the Appellations would run away with a series comeback. After Rich Reese’s first-inning three-run home run and Rich Rollins’ second-inning RBI single knocked Ks starter Dean Chance from the game, Alliterative held an early 4-0 lead and had forced Special to go to their bullpen.
But the Ks’ offense, quiet on the road, ignited in the middle innings.
In the bottom of the third, series MVP Lemon tripled in Nelson Cruz and scored on Josh Willingham’s groundout to halve the deficit. Two innings later, Cruz and Lemon hit back-to-back solo homers, tying the game and chasing Alliterative starter Allan Anderson. The Ks hit four singles off Mike Morin, taking their first lead of the game 5-4, but stranded the bases loaded.
Fortunately, Cruz and Lemon led off the bottom of the sixth.
Cruz’s single and Lemon’s second homer of the game made the score 7-4, providing two insurance runs that proved necessary.
After Byron Buxton homered in the top of the eighth to trim the lead to two, Ks closer Bump Hadley (a league-leading 32 saves during the regular season) entered, only for Jacque Jones to open the ninth with a solo home run. Alliterative continued their threat with Eduardo Escobar’s pinch double putting the tying run on second, but Hadley retired the next two men. Matt Merullo beat out an infield single, bringing up Buxton once more.
Hadley won the battle, inducing a groundout to Brian Dozier at short that sent The Ballparkkkkkkkkkk into a frenzy.
The stage is now set for the Minneapolis Mid-Round.
As might have been guessed, the top two teams in each division have advanced. Let’s see how this turns out.