Grizzlies claim home finale, stay within a game of playoff berth

Special to the News-DemocratSeptember 2, 2013 

The Gateway Grizzlies blasted three home runs and Tim Brown pitched eight strong innings in a 6-2 win over the Rockford Aviators on Sunday night at GCS Ballpark in Sauget.

A crowd of 5,494 enjoyed postgame fireworks at the final home game of the regular season. The Grizzlies (51-42) won for the fifth time in their last seven games and took their second straight series. The Grizzlies remain a game behind Florence for the last wild-card spot.

Michael Wing started the Grizzlies scoring in the first inning with Gateway's first home run of the night --a two-run blast -- that gave Gateway a 2-0 lead.

Landon Hernandez picked up a sacrifice fly in the third inning before a Jet Butler solo shot in the sixth pushed the Grizzlies ahead 4-0.

Rockford finally got to Brown in the eighth inning, scoring two runs on two hits, making it 4-2.

Brown (13-3) allowed seven hits and two runs in eight innings. The right-hander struck out five and didn't issue any walks.

With one start left in the season, Brown is one victory shy of tying the Grizzlies single-season wins record. That mark belongs to Erik Dessau, who won 14 games in 2007.

Alex Guthrie added two insurance runs for Gateway with a two-run homer in the eighth.

Gateway will wrap up its regular season with a three-game series against Southern Illinois in Marion. The series begins Tuesday and runs through Thursday. First pitch for the Tuesday opener is 7:05 p.m.

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