GARY | A 10-inning win by the RailCats on Sunday that coincided with a loss by Winnipeg means the three-game home series that starts Tuesday against the Goldeyes just got interesting.
"Obviously this is a massive series," said RailCats catcher Ryan Babineau, who hit a two-out single in the 10th. "This could make or break our season, and there's no doubt about it, (we) just have to be ready to go."
The RailCats were nine games below .500 to start August and as of today are just 4 1/2 games away from clinching a wild card playoff spot that is currently held by Winnipeg.
After starting the month with a 30-39 record, the RailCats have won 14 of 18 games in August to reach a 44-43 mark.
"I think a lot of people thought the RailCats stopped playing a month ago, so we're trying to keep it a little quiet around here," manager Greg Tagert said. "I think Ryan said it best: It's going to get difficult. ... It's going to be quite a test the next six days."
The RailCats end their series against Winnipeg and hit the road for three games against American Association Central Division leader Wichita before finishing with their final seven at home.
"It's obviously tough not to understand the situation that we're in and how many games back, but you just have to simplify it and take it one pitch at a time," Babineau said. "That's cliche, but it's really one game at a time at this point, keep playing hard and keep doing the things that we do and I think we're going to be happy with how we end up."
On Sunday, Sioux Falls took a 2-0 lead in the second inning after RailCats starter Will Krout loaded the bases with none out. A double by Joe Anthonsen gave the Pheasants the lead, as they finished the game leaving eight on base.
The RailCats scored a run in the fourth inning with a bases-loaded sac fly by Chris Carrara. Mike Rohde tied it with a two-out solo homer over the right-field wall. The bomb was the fifth of the year for the designated hitter, who returned to the lineup Saturday after spending nearly three weeks on the disabled list.
"That big home run by Rohde couldn't have come at a better time after the double play," Tagert said. "As big a hit was Babineau's, the hit of the game was Mike Rohde."
Mike Massaro opened the 10th inning with a single, and two outs later Babineau singled to score Massaro as the game-winning run.
"We get opportunities to win the ballgame and execute in situations and we have been," Babineau said. "We're getting good starts by our pitchers and playing good defense and we've been having some timely hitting."