FARGO — Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks designated hitter Chris Jacobs belted a towering solo home run that sailed over the wall in left field and caromed off the netting that protects the scoreboard in the fifth inning.
That majestic smash sparked a game-changing 10-run frame Thursday afternoon at Newman Outdoor Field. Jacobs added two more RBIs later in the fifth that helped the RedHawks power their way to an 11-4 victory against the Sioux City Explorers in American Association baseball before 3,885 fans.
The RedHawks (34-18) have won 19 of their past 23 games to remain in first place in the North Division standings. F-M took two of three games from the Explorers to win its seventh consecutive series. The RedHawks haven't lost a series since mid-June when they lost two of three games against the Chicago Dogs in a series that ended on June 16.
"Consistency, guys coming out ready to play, and good players," RedHawks manager Jim Bennett said. "We're a family here and we trust each other and we're here for each other and we have good players."
The RedHawks trailed 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth after Sioux City second baseman Drew Stankiewicz cracked a solo home run in the top of the fifth, his second solo blast of the game.
Moments later, Jacobs led off the home half of the fifth with his solo home run. The RedHawks took a 3-2 lead after third baseman Leo Pina added a two-run home run that just cleared the wall in left field.
"It just took a minute, and once we got settled in ... we just put the bats on the ball and started doing what we were supposed to do," said Jacobs, who has nine home runs this season.
Jacobs also had a two-run single in the fifth that staked the RedHawks to a 7-2 lead. Pina capped the inning with an RBI single that made it 10-2 for F-M. The RedHawks sent 15 batters to the plate and had 10 hits in the pivotal fifth inning.
"These guys never surprise me," Bennett said. "You always know they can put in the big inning because one through nine our lineup is pretty good."
The fifth-inning outburst came after the RedHawks were shut down through four innings. Explorers starter Taylor Jordan allowed one hit and faced the minimum amount of batters heading into the fifth.
"We've just got a lot of talent. A lot of talent, a lot of experienced guys, a lot of guys who know what they're doing," Jacobs said. "Baseball is a roller coaster and we all have our ways of navigating the roller coaster."
The RedHawks and Sioux City were coming off a doubleheader Wednesday night at Newman. They split the two seven-inning games, making Thursday the series decider. The second game of Wednesday's doubleheader wasn't completed until past midnight.
F-M starter Michael Tamburino pitched eight strong innings Thursday to help lift his team to victory. The right-hander allowed four earned runs on six hits. Tamburino struck out nine batter and walked none, throwing 118 pitches, including 80 strikes.
"I felt like I pitched him an extra inning," Bennett said. "He came through for me."
Jacobs finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs to raise his season batting average to .306. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Jacobs also scored two runs. He has 38 RBIs, which is tied for the team lead with center fielder Devan Ahart, in 41 games.
"He's always showing up big whether he hits a home run or not," Bennett said of Jacobs, who is second on the team in home runs this season. "Even the days that he's not getting these big home runs, the fact that the name Jacobs is in the lineup, it plays pretty big."
The RedHawks host the Lincoln Saltdogs at 7:02 p.m. Friday, July 12, to start a two-game series. The teams played a single game July 4 at Newman, a game F-M won 7-1. The RedHawks have an off day Sunday.