June 14, 2014

Home cooking revives Grizzlies with victory over Lake Erie

It was exactly the kind of performance that Gateway Grizzlies manager Phil Warren wanted out of his slumping club.

Michael Wing, Richard Seigel and Xavier Macklin all hit two-run homers in support of pitcher Tucker Jensen as the Grizzlies beat the Lake Erie Crushers 8-3 Friday night before 4,212 fans at GCS Ballpark.

The Grizzlies (16-10) snapped a two-game losing streak. They'd just returned from a road trip where they lost four of six games.

"We got what we needed tonight, for sure,'' Warren said. "That was a big boost on Tucker's end. I think it was leading up to tonight five games without a quality start, and we all know it starts with our starting pitching.

"We had a kind of tough, no-so-much-us series in Windy City and the same thing happened to us in Evansville. It's early. We have a lot more work to do, but for me it was more about body language and energy and maybe having a little chip on your shoulder after what just happened. It was good to see tonight.''

The Grizzlies pounced on Lake Erie starter Mickey Jannis, a knuckleballer, for three runs in the first inning.

Madison Beird started the rally with a bunt single that rolled all the way down the third-base line without going foul.

Landon Hernandez was hit by a pitch, putting runners at first and second.

Two passed balls brought Beird around to score.

Wing belted a 1-1 offering from Jannis over the wall in right field for his team-leading fifth homer of the season.

It was the first homer allowed by Jannis in five starts this season.

The Grizzlies went long against Jannis (2-3) again in the third and fourth innings.

"We have been coming out of the gate early offensively, but then it stops,'' Warren said. "This game we carried that through the first five innings. Keep pouring it on.''

With two outs, Hernandez walked and Seigel sent a 1-0 knuckleball over the right-field wall for his third homer of the season.

"The first at-bat was kind of tough just seeing how the ball was moving and trying to figure out what he was trying to do,'' said Seigel, who struck out in his first trip to the plate against Jannis. "The second at-bat with the homer it was working off the fastball and making sure the knuckleball was up.

"If it's anywhere belt-high, it's going to drop. He left it up, and I hit it out.''

In the fourth, Macklin homered off the first pitch from Jannis to straightaway center over the 16-foot wall at the 385-mark.

Macklin's fourth homer of the season brought home Niko Vasquez, who had walked.

The Grizzlies made it 8-0 with a run in the fifth as Beaird walked, advanced to third on a double by Hernandez and scored on a ground out by Seigel.

The Crushers got on the scoreboard in the seventh after Jensen walked the first two batters and Vincent Meija singled.

He got a 5-4-3 double play to avoid any more damage.

Jensen left the game after giving up a two-run double by Seth Granger.

He gave up three runs, all earned, and six hits, while striking out seven and walking three in running his record to 4-0 on the season.

Tyler Thompson relieved Jensen and got the final six outs to seal the win.

The Grizzlies also made a couple of sparkling defensive plays.

Wing dove for a ball up the middle and threw out Andrew Davis at first base in the first and second baseman Jonathan Johnson made a leaping grab on a ball in shallow center to take a hit away from Craig Hertler in the eighth inning.

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