What started out as a triumphant return to the metro-east has quickly turned sour for Gateway Grizzlies pitcher and Centralia native Aaron Newcomb.
Looking to break a season-worst four-game Grizzlies' losing streak, Newcomb allowed nine runs in just 2 1/3 innings on Tuesday as the Frontier Greys took a commanding 13-1 lead after seven innings at GCS Ballpark.
The game had not ended at press time.
Taking advantage of near perfect weather conditions, a paid crowd of 3,122 didn't have much to cheer about as the Greys (20-42) scored four runs off Newcomb in both the first and third innings then got a three-run home run in the fourth inning from all-star Joe Rapp.
Rapp's home run came off reliever Dejai Oliver and increased the Greys lead to 12-0
Frontier scored at least one run in each of the first five innings.
Gateway entered the game with an 8-game losing streak at GCS Ballpark. The Grizzlies (37-24), who won 22 of their first 27 games at home, entered play on Tuesday one game back of River City in the battle for the West Division lead.
The Grizzlies last won on their home turf on July 4 when the nation was celebrating its birthday.
A member of the West Division all-star team who started the season 7-1, Newcomb (8-4) lasted just three innings in an 11-4 loss to Evansville on July 24 when he gave up seven runs.
The Greys took advantage of two Gateway errors and a passed ball to score four runs in the first inning. Newcomb struck out the first two hitters of the game, but surrendered a run scoring single to Joe Minucci for the first run of the game.
A passed ball by Landon Hernandez made it 2-0 and when Grizzlies rightfielder TJ Bennett dropped a fly ball off the bat of Michael Vaughn. two more runs scored for Frontier.
Minucci added a second RBI single in the bottom of the second and when Jon Dziomba, Zach Tanner and Frank Florio all drove in runs the top of the third inning, Frontier led 9-0.
Held to five hits over the first five innings by Frontier starting pitcher Brandon Rhode, the Grizzlies finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning.
TJ Bennett doubled with one out and scored on a single by Ben Waldrip.
The Grizzlies begin a crucial six game road trip today with the first of a three game series at Florence, (Ky.) Gateway then travels to Chicago to take on Windy City, Aug. 2-4. The Grizzlies return home on Aug. 6 to take on Normal.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or email@example.com