GARY | The RailCats lost a home series to the worst team in the American Association's Central Division after an extra-inning first-game loss in a doubleheader.
Sioux City, which entered Wednesday's two-fer nine games back of division-leading RailCats, scored four runs – two earned – in the 11th inning of the first game after the Gary defense held five runners on base through the first 10 innings. The Explorers won 4-0 to take the first two games of the three-game series at U.S. Steel Yard.
The second game ended after this edition went to press.
After winning seven in a row – including four of those against the same Sioux City team – the RailCats dropped two straight to the 8-19 Explorers.
The biggest concern for RailCats manager Greg Tagert over the last three games was his offense.
The 'Cats beat Sioux Falls on Sunday 7-1, scoring all seven runs in the seventh inning. Gary lost to Sioux City on Monday 7-3, scoring all three runs in the third inning.
"We've got to give their pitching credit, but we have only scored twice in the last 27 innings at least," Tagert said. "I love the big inning, but we need to mount one at a time like we usually do just to get us on the board. We've scuffled the last three games offensively against good pitching."
His team scattered five hits against the Explorers in Game 1 on Wednesday, leaving nine on base. The RailCats put leadoff man Josh Romanski on in the sixth inning on a walk before he was taken out with a ground ball into a double play. Romanski also singled as the leadoff man in the bottom of the 11th, but he wasn't driven further than first base.
In the top of the 11th, the Explorers scored thanks to a leadoff walk issued by reliever Kagen Hopkins.
The go-ahead run came with one out on a bunt that was overthrown by reliever James Giulietti back to the plate. Oscar Mesa scored the first of four Explorers' runs in the inning.
"In a game like this, we were really the first team to make the mistake and that was the leadoff walk," Tagert said.