Jason Young, Special to Postmedia
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LINCOLN, Neb. — The Winnipeg Goldeyes defeated the Lincoln Saltdogs 10-7 at Haymarket Park Wednesday evening for their fifth straight victory.
For the third time in as many games, the Goldeyes took an early lead on a home run by Max Murphy. The designated hitter hit an opposite field two-run blast just three batters into the game to give Winnipeg a 2-0 lead. The 2022 American Association Player of the Year now has 14 circuit shots on the season, including five in the past five games.
Later in the first inning, second baseman Brynn Martinez walked with the bases loaded to force in right fielder Najee Gaskins. Centre fielder Tra Holmes then singled up the middle to drive in catcher Jackson Smith and left fielder Javeyan Williams togive Winnipeg a 5-0 lead.
Lincoln scored its first run of the series in the bottom of the inning on a single by third baseman Will Kengor that plated centre fielder Nick Anderson. Goldeyes pitching had gone 20 innings without surrendering a run.
Winnipeg re-took a five run lead in the top of the second inning on a bloop single to right by Gaskins that brought in Murphy before the Saltdogs replied in their half of the inning when Kengor brought Anderson around to score on a double to right-centre field that made it 6-2 Goldeyes.
In the fourth inning, Lincoln shortstop Drew Devine cut the Winnipeg lead to 6-4 with a two out, two-run home run to right.
Williams scampered home on a passed ball in the top of the fifth inning to make the score 7-4 Goldeyes, but the Saltogs kept pace as left fielder Carson Maxwell came in on catcher Marshall Awtry’s sacrifice fly to right field.
In the top of the sixth inning Williams singled to centre field to drive in first baseman Chris Burgess as Winnipeg went up 8-5. However Lincoln got that run right back in the bottom of the frame on a two out, solo home run to right-centre field off the bat of Kengor.
The Goldeyes scored a pair of runs in the eighth to give themselves a bit of breathing room. First Gaskins came in on another Williams single to centre field, then Smith sprinted home on a wild pitch to give Winnipeg a 10-6 lead.
Toronto native Connor Panas led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a home run to right field to reduce the Goldeyes’ lead to 10-7 but that was as close as Lincoln could get.
RJ Martinez won for the fourth time in six decisions in relief of starter and Winnipeg product Marc-Andre Habeck. Martinez allowed two runs – one earned – on two hits in 3 1/3 innings while striking out two and walking a pair. Samuel Adames worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his fifth save of the season.
Saltdogs starter Abdallah Aris (2-2) was charged with the loss. He gave up six runs on six hits over four innings of work. He struck out two batters and issued six bases on balls.
The series concludes Thursday at 7:05 p.m. with Landen Bourassa of Lethbridge, Alta., getting the start for Winnipeg. He’ll face Lincoln left-hander John Bezdicek.