PEARL, Miss (release) -- Kris Bryant hit a pinch hit, two-out, two-run double in the fifth and Charlie Cutler brought in another run in the seventh with a pinch hit sacrifice fly and the Smokies salvaged the finale of a five game series with a 3-1 win versus the Braves at Trustmark Park in Mississippi on Monday night.
Bryant was a late scratch from the starting lineup by manager Buddy Bailey. The Tennessee (24-20) skipper pulled the Southern League's home run and run batted in leader after he reportedly felt ill before Monday's series finale with the Braves (24-20). Bryant batted for starter Pierce Johnson who left after keeping Mississippi hitless over four scoreless innings.
Johson walked two and struck out two over his four inning start. He did not allow a hit and faced just 13 batters. With Johnson out early, the Smokies bullpen took over and rolled right along en route to the four game losing streak snapping victory.
Tony Zych (1-2, 5.30) earned his first win of the season after keeping the Braves to a run on three hits over two innings pitched. Zych allowed three hits, including a RBI single to catcher Barrett Schlehuber in the fifth. He followed the one run fifth by hitting the first two batters he faced in the sixth, but got out of the inning after getting Seth Loman to ground into a double play.
Arodis Viscaino pitched the seventh and Armando Rivero closed it out with a scoreless eighth and ninth. Vizcaino faced four batters, allowed one hit and struck out one in his appearance. Rivero (S, 8, 1.85) faced seven, walked one and struck out two while earning the save.
Mississippi starter Jason Hursh took the loss. Hursh (3-3) allowed three runs on seven hits over seven innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out four.
Reliver Ryne Harper worked the final two innings and also struck out four Tennessee batters. He allowed two hits and faced seven over his two scoreless innings.
The Smokies collected three hits in the fifth, including Bryant's pinch hit double. The inning started with a Rubi Silva line out and a Jae-Hoon Ha groundout. Hursh then gave up consecutive two-out singles to Anthony Giansanti and Wes Darvill before facing Bryant. The hit was Bryant's first as a pinch hitter this season.
The Tennessee seventh started with a single to right from Ha and continued with a sacrifice bunt from Giansanti. Darvill moved Ha to third with a single and Cutler (pinch hitting for Zych) drove him in with a sacrifice fly to right. Darvill attempted to move to second on the fly ball to right, but was caught there to end the inning. Cutler was given credit for a RBI despite being retired on a sacrifice double play.
The victory was the first for the Smokies in their five game series against the Braves. It was also just their second this season against the Southern League South Division.
The Smokies are 22-12 against the North and just 2-8 against the South in 2014.
Tennessee returns home to Smokies Stadium on Wednesday, May 21 for a five-game set with the Mobile BayBears, the Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Information for the upcoming homestand, including promotions, can be viewed by clicking here.
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