The Calgary Vipers were able to move a game and a half back of the Northern League’s wildcard spot as they took a 4-2 decision from the Sioux Falls Canaries.  Calgary, who was perfect against the Canaries in the second half, moves a game above .500 with the win.  A Gary SouthShore RailCats loss in Sioux City has the wildcard race as tight as ever with just 9 games remaining this season. 

In Thursday’s game, the Vipers weren’t able to crack the scoreboard until the 4th inning, and they did it with just one swing of the bat.  Juan Thomas, who had singled in his previous at bat, smacked a solo homerun to the short porch in right field to put Calgary up 1-0.  For Thomas, it was his second homerun in just 4 games as a member of the Vipers and his 16th homerun of the season overall.  It was also his 294th career long ball putting him just 6 off of 300, which would put him in very exclusive company.  Calgary scored again an inning later as J.D. Foust drove home Pedro Santana with a deep double to left.  For Foust, it was his 43rd RBI of the year, which puts him in 4th on the Vipers. 

Sioux Falls didn’t stay down for long as they were able to score an unearned run in their half of the 5th helped by a trio of Calgary fielding errors.  Anthony Monegan ended up scoring in that inning to put the home side down by just 1.  1 inning later, an RBI sac fly from Alex Llanos drove home Marcus Nettles to tie the game at 2.  But the Vipers, needing a win to gain on the Railcats, got back on top in the 8th inning when J.D. Foust scored on a long RBI triple from Carlos Duncan.  The 3 base hit, Duncan’s 7th of the year, was his team leading 73rd RBI of the year and put Calgary up by 1.  Duncan would later score the games 6th run on a wild pitch from Sioux Falls starter Matt Koziari. 

Koziari takes the loss for the Canaries and drops to 0-2 on the year.  He hadn’t appeared in a game since early June.  The win goes to J.P. Fauske, who near perfect in 3 innings on the mound for the Vipers.  Fauske let just one base runner on, thanks to Calgary’s 4th error of the night, while striking out 3 in the process.  The hard throwing right hander now evens his season record at 3-3.  Calgary starter Kevin Lee pitched 2 hit ball for 6 innings and will stay at 1-7 on the year.

Juan Thomas had yet another outstanding game for the Vipers finishing 3-3 with the homerun and a double.  He now has 63 RBI this year, good for second on the Vipers and is now 51 away from a minor league record.  J.D. Foust was 2-3 with the double and single in the 1st inning.  The right fielder also scored the games winning run in the 8th

Calgary will continue their wildcard push on Friday, but they don’t have it easy.  The Vipers will travel to Fargo, North Dakota to take on the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for a 3 game series.  In the opener, Calgary will start Evan Greusel (9-5) looking to become the teams second 10 game winner this year.  Countering for the RedHawks is the undefeated Brandon Culp (12-0) who beat Calgary in his last start.