GARY, IN -- The Sioux Falls Canaries may be playing their best baseball of the season so far.

The Canaries never trailed on Saturday night but had to sweat out a three-run, ninth-inning rally from the Gary SouthShore RailCats before clinching the three-game series with an 8-6 win at the U.S. Steel Yard.

The RailCats (11-10) took advantage of a Canaries error to start the bottom of the ninth inning that opened the door to the three-run rally. They brought the winning run to the plate with runners at the corners, but Alan DeRatt induced Steve Liddle into a groundout to end the game to earn his sixth save.

The Birds (10-13) pulled to 2 1/2 games behind the top spot in the North Division, and they can sweep a series for the first time on Sunday afternoon.

Nick Van Stratten led the Canaries' attack with a 3-for-4 performance and three runs scored. He doubled to lead off the game, advanced to third on Jake Taylor's flyout and scored on J.P. Ramirez' groundout for a 1-0 lead. In the third, he led off with a triple down the right field line and plated on Taylor's single for a 2-0 margin.

The Birds built a 5-1 lead by tallying singletons in five of the first six innings. Steve Domecus had a sacrifice fly in the fourth, Ramirez scored on a fielding error in the fifth, and Taylor tripled home Van Stratten, who had walked prior, in the sixth.

Meanwhile, Canaries hurler Kyle Ruwe (3-2) turned in a quality start on his way to his third win. He did not allow a base runner until the fourth inning and retired 12 of the first 13 men he face.  He yielded three runs in all, two earned, on six hits in seven innings pitched. He did not walk anybody and struck out two.

RailCats starter Alain Quijano (3-2) lasted six innings but allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits. He walked five and fanned four.

A three-run, two-out rally by the Canaries in the seventh inning proved necessary. Nate Baumann doubled home two runs and Domecus brought him home with an RBI single. Baumann collected his fifth double in five games and pushed his hitting streak to eight games.

Tim Pahuta also collected two hits for an eight-game hitting streak.

The finale of the three-game series against the Gary SouthShore RailCats is at 2:10 p.m. on Sunday at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary.

Courtesy:  Sioux Falls Canaries