SAUGET — On a night of home runs, the River City Rascals found a way to squeeze past the Gateway Grizzlies on Sunday at GCS Ballpark.
Johnny Morales executed a suicide-squeeze play to score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, as River City rallied for a 3-2 win before a crowd of 2,356.
Gateway (41-28), getting a two-run home run from Jon Myers, led 2-1 after seven innings.
But River City (33-35) tied the game in the eighth, when Danny Canela homered off Gateway reliever Logan Mahon and then won it in the ninth against Grizzlies pitcher Aaron Baker.
In the ninth Steve Carillo led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Will Block.
Baker then allowed a single to Eric Williams, putting runners on first and third.
Richard Barrett, the fifth pitcher used by Gateway manager Phil Warren, then replaced Baker and Morales bunted his first pitch -- a high, tight fastball -- up the first-base line, scoring Carillo with the go-ahead run.
Gateway threatened in the bottom of the ninth, Vladimir Frias reaching on a one-out double. But Nick Kennedy retired the final two hitters to pick up his third win in five decisions.
The loss is the fourth in six games for Gateway, which leads Schaumburg by a 1 1/2 in the Frontier League's West Division.
"We just didn't execute well. Jonathan (Johnson) made the base-running error in the one inning, when we could have had Landon (Hernandez) up with the bases loaded, and then Michael (Pair) trying to go to third base on a ground ball when he was already in scoring position,'' Warren said. "What was he thinking? That's the problem he wasn't thinking.
"We just didn't play very well tonight.''
Gateway starter Tucker Jensen (6-4) worked six strong innings, allowing only a solo home run by Evan Crawford in the second.
Zac Treece then worked a scoreless seventh before Canela's home run off left-hander Logan Mahon with one out in the eighth inning tied it at 2.
Myers also made his third straight start in center field in place of Antone DeJesus, who suffered a knee injury during the Grizzlies' recent series in Rockford.
Warren said DeJesus will have the knee examined Monday.
Crawford gave River City a 1-0 lead with his second-inning home run. But the Rascals, despite threatening in each of the first three innings, let Jensen and the Grizzlies stay in it.
Back-to-back singles to lead off the game from Eric Williams and Johnny Morales, followed one later by a single by Canela, loaded the bases in the first for the Rascals.
But Jensen got Curren Redal to ground a ball up the middle that Frias, at shortstop, turned into a double play.
Crawford then led off the second with his solo homer, putting River City up 1-0. The Rascals then had two runners on with two outs in the third inning, but Jensen got Redal to ground out for a second time.
Myers provided the Grizzlies with their only offense when he hit his 16th home run in the fourth.
Gateway nearly extended its lead in the fifth inning. Designated hitter Michael Pair drilled a Casey Barnes pitch toward the center-field fence.
But Redal went over the fence, catching the ball and robbing him of the home run.