Needing a bounce back performance after two rough losses in Okotoks, the Moose Jaw Miller Express couldn’t get anything going on Friday night in their return home.
Six scattered hits over the first seven innings and three errors in the fourth inning cost the Express in a 6-2 loss to the Yorkton Cardinals at Ross Wells Park.
“Tonight was one of those nights, the defence wasn’t there, but when we hit like we did for the first seven innings, it’s tough to blame our defence,” said assistant coach Cory Olafson. “Our pitchers didn’t deserve the fate that they got tonight, we kicked the ball around, but our bats were atrocious tonight.”
The loss is the fourth straight for Moose Jaw and dropped them out of a playoff spot and into fourth place in the Saskatchewan Division, a half-game back of the Cardinals.
Coming off two lopsided losses against the Dawgs earlier in the week, the Millers had a chance to rest up for a day before opening a three-game home stand, but they didn’t get the effort that they were looking for.
“We have Yorkton today and Swift Current the next two nights, those are two teams that are chasing us, we have to come out and start this home stand a bit better than that,” said Olafson.
Neither team could get anything going over the first three innings, but then Moose Jaw gave four runs to Yorkton in the fourth thanks to three errors — two by shortstop Andrew Wilson.
Yorkton just picked up one hit in the inning, but managed to bring around four runs thanks to the errors.
Moose Jaw has been a strong defensive team this season and made some nice defensive plays, like Chris Suarez’s snagging a liner in the eighth inning and doubling up the runner at third base to get out of a bases loaded jam.
“We’re usually average or better and tonight we had a couple that we kicked around and that happens, physical errors are a part of the game, but we looked dead from the opening pitch tonight and when you come out here looking dead like that, that stuffs going to happen,” said Olafson.
Olafson said their pitch selection ended up being their downfall in the game more than the defence.
“We had terrible pitch selection, he was throwing that slider all night and we knew it was coming, so we were watching fastballs go by, which were hittable,” he said. “It all boils down to hit selection and it just wasn’t there for us.”
Despite the struggles over the first seven innings, the Millers still had a chance in the ninth inning. They walked the bases loaded and then Levi Moon walked on four pitches to score a run. That brought up Marvin Malone with the bases loaded and a chance to win it, but he flew out to short to end the game.
Tyler Franek gave up six runs — only two earned — on 11 hits over six innings to take the loss. He had four strikeouts and just two walks.
Rodney McKay picked up the win for Yorkton, he went six shutout innings, giving up six hits with three strikeouts and one walks.
The Millers are back on the field on Saturday with the Swift Current Indians in town. First pitch is at 7:05pm.