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Moore, Canaries silence X's bats

SIOUX CITY | The American Association’s career victory leader was simply dominant Sunday night.

Twenty-five year old Ben Moore picked up his 41st triumph, leading the Sioux Falls Canaries to a 7-2 win over the Sioux City Explorers in front of 509 fans on a cloudy night at Lewis and Clark Park. Moore, who fired 97 pitches in a complete-game effort, allowed five hits, struck out four and at one point late in the game, retired 11 consecutive Explorers.


“I think that guy is the best pitcher in the league,” said Explorers Manager Stan Cliburn, whose 5-5 squad got two hits from Eliezer Mesa, the American Association’s leader with 17 hits.


“I’ve seen him now for three years. He finds a way to get it done. He keeps the ball down. We beat him on opening night when we got to him early. Tonight, he was in total control. He did the same performance in his last start against St. Paul.”


Moore (2-1) was especially amazing in the fifth and sixth innings, throwing a combined 10 pitches. Avenging a 5-3 loss to the Explorers in the May 16 opener at Lewis and Clark, the 6-foot, 195-pound righthander from St. Croix Falls, Wis., also got 13 hits from his teammates as Sioux Falls took two of three games in the series.


“I was trying to keep the ball down because I know these guys are good hitters,” said Moore. “Luckily, they hit a lot of hard balls right at our guys. My policy is to get ahead like any pitcher, I guess. I was throwing strikes when they were swinging at them. They weren’t falling in (for hits).”


Moore had a worthy counterpart on the pitcher’s mound for the Explorers, veteran lefthander Richard Salazar. The 32-year old native of Caracas, Venezuela, was slated to match up against Moore in the season-opener, but missed preseason camp with shoulder tendonitis.


Activated for the first time, Salazar allowed two hits and threw 22 pitches in two innings. Josh Rainwater (1-2), a starting pitcher, yielded four runs and eight hits in five innings of relief for the Explorers, who play a key three-game series, starting tonight at Gary SouthShore.


“Salazar was back from the inactive list,” said Cliburn. “We held him to 30 pitches to try to build his strength back up. Maybe next time, it’ll be 60.


“But he’s healthy. He didn’t pitch with any pain. That’s a good sign. He’s going to be a big plus for us in the starting rotation. He’ll move into the rotation. I believe Friday will be his next start.”


Sunday was the day that American Association teams had to trim their rosters to 22 players. In order to make up for the activation of Salazar, Sioux City placed two relief pitchers on the disabled list, 6-foot, 215-pound left-hander Josh Poytress (0-0, 18.00 ERA) and 6-2, 220-pound righthander Yunier Colon (0-0, 7.71 ERA).


Sioux City jumped to a 1-0 first inning lead. Mesa posted the first of his two hits, a leadoff single, stole second base and took third base on Yusuke Inoguchi’s ground out. Mesa scored on a grounder by Wally Backman, Jr.


Rainwater was greeted by consecutive third-inning singles from Anthony Trajano and Kevin Dultz. Catcher Alberto Espinosa was charged with a throwing error to first base on Nick Van Stratten’s bunt, scoring Trajano while Doltz scored on Cory Morales’ single as Sioux Falls (4-6) regained the lead for keeps.


Errorless in the first two games of the series, Sioux City made two miscues, but hiked its season double-play total to 16 with three. There were 3-6-3 twin-killings in the first and ninth innings and a 7-2 double play in the third when J.P. Ramirez flied out to Inoguchi, who made a shoestring catch, then gunned a throw to home plate to eliminate Van Stratten.


Peter Barrows extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a ninth-inning double, his fourth two-base hit of the season.


Righthander Jason Jarvis (2-0, 2.02 ERA) will get the pitching start tonight against the Central Division-leading Railcats.


Article provided by Jerry Giese, Sioux City Journal