Burlington, IA - Maximo Mendez drove home two runs and scored one more to help the Clinton LumberKings spoil the home opener for the Burlington Bees in a 6-3 win Thursday night. Mendez singled home a run in the fifth, scored on a double-steal and added insurance with an RBI fielder's choice in the ninth as the Kings won their debut game as a Seattle Mariners affiliate.
Starter Steven Hensley (W, 1-0) gave up an early unearned run on an RBI triple by Kyle Martin, but allowed just three more hits over his next four innings. Luis Nunez gave Clinton the lead with a two-run double to right in the second, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple.
The LumberKings added to their lead thanks to a towering solo home run to left field by Travis Howell to lead off the fourth, and Mendez almost single-handedly made it a 5-1 game in the fifth. After a leadoff single by Daniel Carroll, Mendez singled him home with a liner just inside the first-base bag. Three batters later, a double-steal proved successful as Nate Tenbrink swiped second and Mendez nabbed home.
The Bees battled back for two runs in the sixth after a pair of errors behind Hensley, but right-hander Keith Meyer (H, 1) cleaned up the mess with two strikeouts. Right-handers Adam Harben (H, 1) and Ryan Moorer (S, 1) kept Burlington off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Bryan Casey (L, 0-1) took the loss for the Bees, yielding two runs on four hits over 3.0 innings. Four Burlington relievers combined to allow an additional four earned runs.
Mendez was the only LumberKing with a multi-hit night, finishing 2-for-5. He and Nunez each had two RBI apiece. Martin and Eric Hosmer each drove in runs for Burlington.
The LumberKings (1-0) and Bees (0-1) continue the three-game series tomorrow night at Community Field, first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM. Listen to the game on AM 1390 KCLN in Clinton or live on the web at www.lumberkings.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.