Some nights the other team is just better. That was the case for the Moose Jaw Miller Express on Tuesday night.
They lost 15-2 to the Swift Current Indians in an error filled game at Ross Wells Park that had big implications in the division.
Moose Jaw entered the game a half-game up on Swift Current for the Central Division lead, but the loss drops them down into second place for the first time this season with a 15-13 record.
“It was just pretty bad all around,” said catcher Dylan Hanson, who was the only Miller to pick up multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. “We came out a little bit flat and just didn't do the little things right and when you don't do the little things right, they add up.”
In the game, Moose Jaw committed a total of seven errors as they struggled defensively throughout the game. The first error came in the first inning and allowed Swift Current to jump out to a 2-0 lead and it continued from there.
“It's just baseball. Baseball is the way it is and unfortunately it's a very, very frustrating game and some games you come out lights out and some you don't,” said Hanson. “Today was one of those days where we didn't come lights out.”
The errors made life difficult on the Moose Jaw pitchers and Swift Current capitalized finishing the game with 14 hits with contributions coming throughout the order. They went in front 5-0 after two innings on a two-run double from Josh Johnson.
The game really unravelled for the Millers between the fifth and seventh innings. Taylor Steen smoked a two-run home run in the fifth to make it 7-1. Eric Sams followed that up the next inning with another two-run bomb for a 9-1 advantage.
Four more runs in the seventh put the game well out of reach.
“It wasn't great, they certainly came to play and we didn't bring our 'A' game at all,” said Moose Jaw head coach Michael Hunt after the loss.
Tanner Spencer was tagged with the loss, giving up seven runs on eight hits over five innings of work. He walked three and didn't pick up a strike out.
By comparison, Swift Current starter Steve Thompson was able to pitch his way out of jams, giving up only one run on three hits in six innings for the win. He allowed just two hits through the first four inning and then stranded the bases loaded in the fifth to kill any momentum for Moose Jaw.
Connor Keating allowed six runs – only two earned – on four hits over 1.1 innings of relief, while Zach Shelstad finished off the seventh, getting two outs on seven pitches.
Brendan Banerjee made his first appearance since June 22nd and allowed one earned run in the eighth inning on two hits before giving way to Josh Janzen, who breezed through the ninth inning.
The loss is disappointing for Moose Jaw as they've played well at Ross Wells Park throughout the season and we're hoping to create some separation between them and the Indians in the Central Division standings.
“We knew we were a half-game up and now we're a half-game behind, so it is a bitter pill to swallow,” said Hunt.
Moose Jaw has yet to lose three games in a row this season. They will need a win on Thursday in Medicine Hat to keep that trend going.
“We've got to have a short memory and we've got a long stretch of games here coming up, so there's no sense in sulking about it,” Hanson said. “We just need to get out and keep playing 'Bad News Bears' baseball like we have been.”
The Millers will get Wednesday off before hitting the road for four games in four nights, starting with two in Medicine Hat on Thursday and Friday. They'll head to Saskatoon on Saturday and Sunday.