GARY | The RailCats extended their winning streak to six games Tuesday and did so with a late move to the lineup.
Prior to the 4-3 win over Kansas City, the coaching staff traded first baseman Steve Liddle to Southern Illinois of the Frontier League for future considerations, feeling it would open more opportunities for Danny Pulfer. The utility infielder Pulfer had started as many games as Liddle and had produced more RBIs.
Though Pulfer was kept in lieu of Liddle, he didn't start the game at first base.
When Pulfer came in as a pinch hitter, he showed why he was worth the keep. Pulfer singled in his first at-bat, then hit a sac bunt in the ninth inning to put Drew Martinez in position to score the winning run on a wild pitch.
"We knew Danny could do a good job, and we're finding more and more ways to get Danny into the lineup," RailCats manager Greg Tagert said.
In the six-game stretch, the 'Cats have won three games by a single run, twice in the ninth inning and once in the 10th inning. In the three games not won by one run, the RailCats scored 10 runs in each game.
"It's resiliency," RailCats starting pitcher Will Krout said. "There's no quit right now. We could be down four runs like we were before or two runs like the other night. There's no quit. If we get a runner on, OK, next guy up, next guy up, next guy up. ... If one guy doesn't get it done, the next guy is there to pick him up. That's something we didn't have last year. We'd get down and be like, one out (he shrugs), two out, oh well. We'd get down, and it would steamroll after that."
Krout, who had been on the disabled list since his last start June 17 in Wichita, said his arm gave him no trouble throwing seven innings with four strikeouts in the no decision. He left the Wichita start with tightness and didn't throw for a couple days before taking a bullpen session Saturday.
In his last missed start, the RailCats won in 10 innings against St. Paul.
"It's been torture to watch, because, obviously, Friday was supposed to be my last start, and I'm very happy that we're winning. That's the main thing. We're winning," Krout said. "If I had to sit a week, that's perfectly fine with me, because we're winning games. If it's late or not, late I think helps us as a team, but obviously you want to win in nine innings, period."
"Will did a great job coming back off the rest, obviously did him some good," Tagert said. "He got cleared, and mentally he was OK. You could see that in the way he competed today."