DES MOINES, Iowa - For the first time since 1998, the Fresno Grizzlies (79-51) are Division Champions. Fresno starter Mark Appel tossed six quality innings, while Andrew Aplin, Tyler Heineman, Tony Kemp, and Jon Singleton drove in runs in the 7-3 division-title clinching win over the Iowa Cubs (72-58) on Tuesday night at Principal Park. Reliever Jordan Jankowski struck out Javy Baez with two runners on for the final out of the game that ensures postseason baseball will be played for the first time in the history of Chukchansi Park in Downtown Fresno.
Fresno becomes the first Triple-A Baseball team in either the Pacific Coast or International League to clinch their division, much due to their impressive 20-4 record in the month of August. The 13.5 game division lead is the largest in all of professional baseball, while the 79 wins rank among the top three among all Minor League Baseball teams this season.
The Grizzlies captured the lead on the second pitch of the game as Tony Kemp sent a leadoff homer (3) over the wall in right. They came right back in the second and added two runs when Jon Singleton doubled off the top of the right field wall and later scored on a single by Andrew Aplin.
Holding a 3-0 cushion, Mark Appel made his way through the Iowa lineup with ease until a broken bat RBI single put the Cubs on the board in the third. However, Fresno came right back with two more runs in the top of the fourth as Tyler Heineman and Tony Kemp smacked run-scoring doubles.
Matt Duffy pushed a run across in the fifth when he smoked a liner down the right-field line, which forced a throwing error that allowed Tyler White to trot home. Tony Kemp pushed another insurance run across in the sixth on a force out, presenting a 7-3 lead.
Appel allowed three runs on four hits over six innings and struck out five to pick up his third Triple-A victory. Joe Thatcher came on in the seventh and recorded the first two outs, before handing it over to Jordan Jankowski for the save (3).
Playoff tickets to all five potential playoff games at Chukchansi Park are on sale now! Individual playoff tickets, group options, luxury suites, and multi-game packages are available for purchase at the Chukchansi Park Box Office, over the phone at 559.320.TIXS, or online. Individual tickets start as low as $10, with packages that include a ticket to each of the five possible home playoff games starting at $50. Fans can save up to 45% by purchasing a five-game playoff pack, while those looking to bring out a group are encouraged to call Andrew Milios (Director of Sales) at 559.320.2533.