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Shirley said. "It's dry and the ball sometimes doesn't feel good in your hand. Your hands are cold and sometimes are down right numb."
Stephen Branca (left) congratulates teammate Shelby Ford after Ford hit a solo home run in the second inning Friday night as the Canaries played Sioux City at the Birdcage. Sioux Falls defeated the Explorers 4 1.(Photo: Michael G. Brown / For the Argus Leader)Pitcher John Brebbia made the most of his Canaries debut on Friday night at the Birdcage. The 2011 New York Yankees draft selection fanned two batters in the first inning before cruising the rest of the way, giving up four hits while striking out eight over five innings in a 4 1 victory over the Sioux City Explorers.
Mendez' at bat was a good one as he fouled off several pitches on a full count. His drive to deep center field gave the Canaries a lead they kept.
"That's huge. When you can get out on top and swing that momentum your way, it's big," Brebbia said of the early 1 0 lead. "Everyone out there has talent so when you have that momentum, it makes it so much easier to pitch."
"That was a hell of an at bat," Canaries manager Steve Shirley said of the Mendez sacrifice fly. "That's what you need in this game. You need good pitching, good fielding, timely hits and sacrifice flys like that one."
The win puts the Canaries at 2 0, a stark contrast to last year when Sioux Falls opened the season with three straight home losses to the the Explorers.
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With the bases loaded for the Explorers in the sixth and the Canaries holding the three run lead, Kirk Clark came in to relieve Gonzalez.
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Erick Gonzalez came in for relief to start the sixth, and the right hander made things interesting by going just 2/3 of an inning, giving up a double and three walks as the Explorers got on the board at 4 1.
Although conditions weren't as cold as Thursday's opener, temps dipped into the mid 40s, making things tough on pitchers from both sides.
Canaries pitching stifles Sioux City in win
Sioux City threat was over.
"He's thrown a lot of innings coming out the pen," Shirley said of Brebbia's first career start. "But I don't think it's going to be a stretch for him to be a starter for us. It's not like he's a one inning guy."
"A lot of times you're going to need more than four runs to win in this ballpark," Shirley said. "But tonight we got the pitching that put us in a position to win the game with just four."
Downing stepped in for relief in the eighth. Alan DeRatt closed out the game in the ninth to earn his second save
"Whenever you start a game, no matter the level, you're dealing with something," Brebbia said. "Yea, I had some nerves."
Brebbia got some early help from the Canary bats when Chris Valencia tripled to open the bottom of the first. He scored moments later on a deep sacrifice fly to centerfield by Carlos Adidas Neo Advantage All Black Mendez and the Birds were up 1 0.
Shelby Ford homered for the Canaries in the second and they added two more runs for a 4 0 lead in the fifth when Sioux Falls sent seven batters to the plate, including singles from Steve Tinoco, Valencia and Brandon Jones.
Clark managed to get Andre Perez to fly out to the catcher in just three pitches, and the Adidas Neo Black Pink
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