(Greensboro, NC) - Kyeong Kang hit home runs Nos. 4 and 5 on Wednesday night, recording three RBI along the way. But his heroics weren't enough as the Hot Rods couldn't hold onto a 4-3 eighth-inning lead, losing 7-4 to the Greensboro Grasshoppers (18-33, 55-66) at NewBridge Bank Park. The loss is the Hot Rods second straight and their fourth in five games, leaving them four games behind division-leading Asheville heading into play on Thursday.
The first of the big hits for Kang came in the top of the first inning. With two down and Tim Beckham at second base, Kang crushed a 3-2 fastball to deep right-center field for a two-run homer, giving the Hot Rods an early 2-0 lead.
His second big fly came in a clutch situation in the top of the eighth inning. After the Grasshoppers had rallied over the sixth and seventh to take a 3-2 lead, Kang worked another 3-2 count against Arquimedes Caminero. On the tenth pitch of the at-bat he drove another fastball into the left field grass berm for a solo home run that tied the game at 3-3. The homers were Kang's fourth and fifth of the season, raising his RBI total to 33.
The homer seemed to spark a dormant Hot Rods offense, which added another run in the inning, the only two runs they've scored against the Greensboro bullpen. Jeremy Beckham singled to center to knock Caminero out of the game. On came Jared Yecker (3-3), who surrendered a single to Sheridan to put runners at the corners. Jason Corder then followed with a single to left field to plate Beckham and give the Hot Rods a 4-3 lead.
The eighth inning offense wasn't enough, however, as the Hot Rods bullpen continued its struggles in the series. Shane Dyer and Marquis Fleming combined to allow four runs in the bottom of the eighth, albeit only one of those runs was earned. Fleming took the loss as he surrendered three runs after an error could have ended the inning. Robert Taylor provided a pinch-hit single against Dyer to tie the game before Isaac Galloway and Paul Gran connected for extra-base hits after the error to put the game out of reach at 7-4.
The Hot Rods bullpen has now given up 19 runs in the first three games of the series. In contrast the Grasshoppers bullpen worked 12.2 scoreless before giving up the base hits to Kang and Corder in the eighth.
The Hot Rods now try to salvage a split of the series on Thursday night as RHP Joe Cruz (4-7, 3.74) faces Greensboro RHP Johnny Dorn (10-9, 4.03). First pitch is at 6:05 PM CDT. You can follow the game on the radio beginning at 5:50 PM with Tom Gauthier on 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.
The Hot Rods return home for a seven-game home stand on Tuesday, August 25 against the West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates). The seven game home stand features Kraft Singles Tuesday, Thirsty Thursday presented by All Hit WUHU and No. 1 Country Beaver 96.7 on August 27, and post-game fireworks presented by WBKO on Friday, August 28. For tickets and a complete list of promotions visit www.bghotrods.com.