GARY — As much as the RailCats needed this four-game series against Salina, the last-place team in the American Association, so did ace Charle Rosario.
Rosario hadn't recorded a decision since July 14, the last time Salina came to Gary, and held the Stampede to one run in his seven innings.
Rosario missed his outing in the American Association all-star game against the Can-Am all-stars after a snafu at the airport. He returned home after he was told he needed extra paperwork to board the plane to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and after more than two hours waiting, chose not to stay at the airport.
Facing the Salina team that likes to swing the bat, Rosario said he threw as many first-pitch strikes as he could. He allowed five hits in a 14-1 RailCats win in the first of a scheduled doubleheader Thursday at U.S. Steel Yard.
"They like to swing at everything," Rosario said. "The last time I learned about how they like to swing, so I was trying to go more inside. I don't have that many extra chances if I miss a pitch."
The only run Rosario allowed was a home run to left field that was questioned by the RailCats, who claimed that the ball hit the top of the wall and should have been ruled a double. Officials maintained the home run call.
The RailCats, meanwhile, who found hits and runs at a premium in their four-game losing streak that preceded the all-star break, used 16 hits, including two home runs in the eighth inning, to shell Salina pitchers.
Cameron Newell hit his first pro bomb over the right field wall, scoring two in a six-run eighth. Kris Goodman, who also had a pair of triples, hit a three-run home run and scored three runs.
"When we score four runs in the first and with Charle Rosario on the mound, I like that start," RailCats manager Greg Tagert said. "I do think the (hitting) message I tried to send was at the leadoff spot ... What we've seen with clubs that struggle offensively and inexperienced clubs is that the go-to switch is to be more aggressive and then they get themselves out.
"Do you take into account that we got into that bullpen early, and that was great? But against other types of clubs, we can't do that the way we've been playing offensively."
Goodman had three hits, Andy De Jesus four and Colin Willis, Newell and Jose Gonzalez had two each.
"Sometimes I think we feel too comfortable, like we played Sioux City two other times and beat them, so we got too comfortable playing against them," Rosario said. "That's one of our problems I think with the last series. So this helps."