The wins keep on coming for the Moose Jaw Miller Express.
The Millers won for the seventh time in the past eight games on Tuesday night as they went into Yorkton and handed the Cardinals a 5-1 loss in Western Major Baseball League action.
The win improves Moose Jaw’s record to 11-18 on the year and puts them just two games back of the Weyburn Beavers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Division.
Moose Jaw jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning and then tacked on four runs in the fourth to cruise to the win.
Head coach Michael Hunt said that the Millers did let off the gas a bit too much in the later stages of the game.
“We’ve done that to ourselves a few times this year where we’ve sat on big leads,” he said. “But, we got great pitching, solid defence and it really picked up the offence when they fell asleep for six innings.”
The Millers received a great pitching performance from Grant Westmoreland to lead them to the win. The veteran lefty went 7 1/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits. He struck out five and walked just one to leave with a four-run lead.
Westmoreland improves to 2-3 on the year and has won his past two starts after going without a win through his first four appearances of the year.
“He did everything that he’s been doing for us over the past two starts,” said Hunt. “He’s been tremendous for us and he did it a third time in a row, so we can’t ask for anything more out of him.”
Yorkton almost pulled off a comeback in the ninth inning as they loaded the bases with two outs, but the Millers turned to closer Travis Kuhn, who got pinch hitter Hunter Hisky to fly-out to left field to end the game.
Michael Cartwright relieved Westmoreland in the eighth inning, but struggled with control a bit in the ninth to load the bases.
“Kuhn is our closer 1A and we didn’t want to bring him in there, but things got a little bit too close and so we rolled him out and he did his job,” said Hunt.
Moose Jaw started the game strong, loading the bases in the first inning and then having shortstop Jackson Schnurbusch come around to score on a walk by third baseman Cole Distler.
In the fourth, first baseman Chris Suarez led off the inning with a home run and then the Millers proceeded to add four more hits and score four runs in total in the frame to take a 5-0 lead.
The big inning also chased Yorkton starter Luke Lucas from the mound after just 3 2/3 innings of work. He gave up five runs — four earned — on nine hits, while striking out just one and walking two.
Yorkton’s lone run came on an RBI-single by Garrett Fort in the bottom of the fourth.
“We got after their pitcher in one inning and then fell asleep for a few, had not so great at-bats, but we did our job in that one inning and that carried us through,” said Hunt.
The Millers will continue their busy week on Wednesday when they open a four-game homestand against the Fort McMurray Giants. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.