WINNIPEG, Manitoba.  –  One swing provided all of the Sioux Falls Canaries offense on Wednesday night, and it turned out to be plenty.

J.P. Ramirez belted a grand slam in the second inning, propelling the Birds to a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Goldeyes at Shaw Park. The liner over the right field wall came on the first pitch Ramirez saw after sitting out Tuesday’s series opener. It was his fifth home run of the year and part of a 2-for-3 performance.

The third grand slam of the season by a Birds hitter was more than enough for Canaries starter Adam Champion (5-7), who tossed six shutout innings after starting on Sunday. A reshuffled four-man rotation moved Champion up a day, and he rose to the occasion by scattering seven hits, all singles, while not walking anybody. He struck out three to help Sioux Falls even a three-game series.

Champion’s performance continued a stretch of good starting pitching, which has turned in 12 quality starts (6 or more innings pitched, 3 or less earned runs allowed) in the last 14 games. Starting pitchers are now 11-5 in July for a Canaries squad that improved to 13-8 this month and 27-37 overall.

Alan DeRatt remained perfect in save opportunities, throwing a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 14th save.

Former Sioux Falls pitcher Pete Gehle (3-4) took the loss. He pitched well except for the fateful second inning, allowing four runs on five hits in seven innings. He walked one and fanned four. After loaded the bases and giving up the grand slam to start the second inning, he saw just one over the minimum through the seventh inning.

Winnipeg (30-31) scored their only run in the seventh on a groundout against Canaries reliever and former Goldeyes pitcher Chris Allen. Jordan Whatcott threw a scoreless eighth to set up the ninth.

The rubber game of the series is at 12:05 p.m. on Thursday.

Courtesy:  Sioux Falls Canaries