Slumping Grizzlies fail to fight off River City

News-DemocratAugust 15, 2013 

— The slide continued for the Gateway Grizzlies on Thursday at GCS Ballpark.

Son of former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Andy Benes, Drew Benes worked six strong innings and Danny Canela gave River City the lead for good with a fifth-inning three-run home run as the Rascals dealt Gateway a 6-4 setback in a Frontier League game.

A 24-year-old right-hander, Benes allowed run-scoring singles to Jet Butler and Michael Wing as Gateway (45-33) built a 3-0 lead after three innings.

But Gateway, which has now lost four of its last five, managed just two hits -- including a solo homer from Alex Guthrie in the seventh inning -- the rest of the game.

River City (38-39) kept chipping away, and when Canela unloaded on Gateway starter Tucker Jensen (6-6) in the fifth, the Rascals were on their way to a series sweep.

The win also gave River City a split of their 12 games with Gateway for the season.

The loss drops the Grizzlies a game behind Schaumburg (46-32) in the Frontier League's West Division. Schaumburg defeated Rockford 3-2 on Thursday.

"How do we turn this around? We've got to play better. It's that simple,'' Grizzlies manager Phil Warren said. "Tucker (Jensen) got a pitch up to their best fastball hitter (Canela) and he it out. Offensively we came out and hit the ball well, then we started swinging at bad pitches.

"The effort is there. We're just making mistakes at crucial points in the game. It's really all between the ears right now.''

While Jensen looked especially sharp early, Benes (1-2) struggled with his control.

Jonathan Johnson led off the bottom of the first by drawing a walk and one out later stole second base.

Benes then retired Chris McClendon, but walked clean-up hitter Landon Henandez to put runners on first and second.

Butler then lined a one-hop smash, which glanced off the glove of Rascals second baseman Will Block's glove and rolled into shallow right for an RBI single.

Hernandez advanced to third on the single and scored the second run of the inning when Benes' first delivery to Jon Myers went back to the screen for a wild pitch.

The Grizzlies increased the lead to 3-0 in the second as Alex Guthrie drew a one-out walk and scored on Michael Wing's two-out single.

The RBI was Wing's first as a Grizzlie. He was playing his second game for Gateway after being acquired from Joliet earlier in the week.

After breezing through three innings, Jensen gave up a two-out run-scoring single in the fourth to Johnny Morales, before River City ended his night in the fifth.

With one out, Eric Williams drew a walk and went to second on a single by Curran Redal.

Canela then put the first pitch from Jensen well over the right-field fence for a three-run home run and a 4-3 Rascals lead.

Jensen pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.

River City added an unearned run off reliever Logan Mahon in the sixth, increasing its lead to 5-3.

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