KC T-Bones smack 20-hits, win 11-4 in return to championship finals

The last time the Kansas CityT-Bones made the playoffs, they set a franchise record for wins and roared intothe 2010 Northern League Finals, only to be swept by Fargo-Moorhead.

Eightyears later, having moved to the American Association, the T-Bones this season reset their franchise wins record, going 62-37 and making it to the AA Finalsfor the first time.

An 11-4 win over the St. Paul Saints in the first game of theAmerican Association Finals on Tuesday night further distanced themselves from the frustration of 2010.

The T-Bones scored 10 runs in the first six innings and rode six innings of one-run ball from starterBarrett Astin to take a 1-0 series lead. All nine T-Bones hitters hitsafely in the 20-hit attack in St. Paul, Minn.

Former St. Paul Saint Noah Perio Jr. pacedthe T-Bones with a pair of two-run homers and Alay Lago and Ryan Brett added four hits apiece.

KC took the lead right away. Brett doubled on the second pitch of the game,then scored with two outs when Perio Jr. sliced a 3-1 pitch just inside the left-field foul pole for an opposite-field, two-run homer.

Brett ignited another two-out rally in the top of the second, lining afull-count delivery into left field to score Lago. Mason Davis then followed byrifling a 3-1 pitch down the right-field line for a two-run double, giving theT-Bones a 5-0 advantage.

St. Paul score a two-out run of its own in the bottom of the second, but the T-Bones got that run back with another two-out rally in the third. Lagoand Keith Curcio singled with two outs, and Lago scored when Saintsthird basemen Dante Bichette Jr. couldn’t handle a hot shot off the bat ofAnthony Phillips.

Thesix early runs chased St. Paul starter Chris Nunn after just three innings. Reliever Matt Solter fared no better, allowing a run in the fourthdespite not allowing a hit in the frame.

Perio struck again in the sixth, crushing his second two-run shot ofthe night, this time onto the concourse past the right-field fence. Lago singled in Adrian Nieto to make it a 10-1 lead.

Astin, meanwhile, settled in, setting down 12 Saints in a row at one point. He allowed just four hits, getting 11ground-ball outs.

Nieto would put a bow on the blowout with an eighth-inning solo homer.

Game two of theseries is 7:05 Wednesday night in St. Paul. Hunter Adkins will pitch for Kansas City against St.Paul’s Eddie Medina.

The series shifts to T-Bones Stadium in the Legends area of Kansas City, Kan., on Friday. All tickets are $8.