LA CROSSE – La Crosse Loggers manager Estevan Valencia tried everything but the old hidden-ball trick in an effort to beat the Madison Mallards Wednesday night.
Pitchouts, pickoff attempts, a lineup shuffle – Valencia even got himself ejected in the top of the seventh inning.
It was to no avail. Madison beat La Crosse 6-3 in front of a crowd of 2,274 at Copeland Park. The Loggers (6-10) have lost two straight and five of their last six as they begin a six-game road trip today at Mankato.
“Today we didn’t play as well as we need to mentally or physically,” Valencia said. “The opportunities we were given, we didn’t take advantage of.”
The Mallards (11-5), who started the night two games behind Rochester in the South Division, went back to their formidable running attack after easing off during a 6-0 win over La Crosse on Monday.
Madison was 6-for-6 on stolen-base attempts. The Loggers also helped the Mallards by committing five errors that led to three unearned runs.
“They made some mistakes and we took advantage well,” Mallards manager Darrell Handelsman said. “This was a good win for us. They didn’t quit, though. (Valencia) has them playing hard no matter what.”
Home plate umpire Adam Harrel tossed Valencia out for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout.
Valencia also chewed out field umpire Justin Moore in the bottom of the fourth when Mike Sirianni was called out on a close play at second.
“(Harrel) didn’t like me arguing balls and strikes,” said Valencia, who was ejected June 10 at Rochester. “I had my pitcher (Ryan Hopkins) out there battling and (Harrel) wasn’t giving him pitches that I thought were strikes.”
La Crosse scored two runs off the Mallards’ Corey Cabral in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Ben Stanczyk and a wild pitch. Cabral (2-1) went five innings for the win before giving way to three relievers.
Kyle Yates picked up his first save of the season. He allowed one hit in the ninth.
Javier Sanchez was 3-for-3 and delivered RBIs in the first, third and fifth against Daniel Miltenberger, making his first start for the Loggers. Madison scored an unearned run in the second.
The Loggers scored a run in the bottom of the seventh on Sam Jansen’s RBI single to make it 6-3, then left the bases loaded. They left two more runners stranded in the eighth.
The Mallards return home tonight to open a five-game homestand against the Alexandria Beetles.