KODAK, Tenn. (release) – Barons shortstop Jaime Pedroza collected three hits in addition to driving in three runs and catcher Kevan Smith smashed his fourth homer of the year, while Smokies third baseman Kris Bryant recorded his team-leading 20th multi-hit game of the year as Birmingham topped Tennessee 10-5 on Monday evening at Smokies Stadium.
The victory is the third straight in the series for the Barons, and sixth in their last seven, as they clinched a series win and improved their overall record to 26-32. The Smokies fell in their eighth consecutive contest, marking their longest such stretch since 2009, and own a 26-31 clip in 2014.
The Barons struck first with a pair of tallies in the third. SS Jaime Pedroza led off with a double, and then scored on CF Trayce Thompson’s ground-rule double to right-center to open the scoring. Thompson would later come across on 3B Chris Curley’s run-scoring single to right.
Birmingham would subsequently double their advantage to four in the following frame. 1B Rangel Ravelo reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on a single, then third on RF Josh Richmond’s fielder’s choice, before scoring on a Smokies error, while Richmond eventually was brought on on Pedroza’s run-scoring base hit to make it 4-0.
The margin increased to seven for the Barons courtesy of a three-spot in the sixth. Earley started it all with a triple to deep center and Smith drew a free pass, with Richmond sending in Earley with a double to right. Smith and Richmond would then come home on Pedroza’s two-run single to center to extend the advantage to 7-0.
Tennessee, however, would cut their deficit to five in the bottom half of the inning. After Bryant and C Charlie Cutler reached on back-to-back singles and moved 90 feet on a groundout, both would be driven in on 1B Dustin Geiger’s two-run base knock to left, getting the Smokies on the board at 7-2.
Birmingham would then reset the lead back to six in the eighth thanks to the longball. With two outs in the frame, Smith lifted a solo blast over the right-center field wall for his fourth homer of 2014 to push the lead back to eight at 8-2. The Barons would then follow with two more insurance runs in the ninth to reach double digits, though the Smokies answered with three tallies in the bottom of the ninth.
3B Anthony Giansanti brought home the first run of the inning with a run-scoring two-bagger to deep center and then scored on a sacrifice fly, while CF Rubi Silva capped the frame with an RBI double to center field.
Pedroza (3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI) led all Barons batters with his three knocks, while Earley (2-4, 1 R, 1 3B) and Smith (2-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB) also collected multi-hit efforts, while Giansanti (3-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI), Bryant (2-3, 1 R, 1 BB), Cutler (2-4, 1 R) each tallied two hits for Tennessee. Bryant continued his torrid pace at the plate this season, and continues to lead all three Triple Crown categories, upping his batting average to a .353 clip.
Smokies starter Dae-Eun Rhee (6.0 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 2-3 on the season, while Birmingham reliever Kevin Vance (2.0 IP, 2 SO) earned the victory after firing two shutout frames. Barons starter Bryan Blough tossed the first four innings of shutout ball, though he did not factor in the decision.
Tennessee will look to get back on track Tuesday evening in game four of the five-game series, with first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m. The Smokies are slated to send RHP Joe Gardner (0-0, 0.77) to the hill, while southpaw Scott Snodgress (3-3, 4.47) is scheduled to start for the Barons.
Every dog has his day at Smokies Stadium tomorrow night, with Tail-Waggin’ Tuesday, allowing fans to bring their pooches to the park. It’s also a Food City Family Night, meaning fans can bring a receipt from Food City showing a purchase of Peter Pan Peanut Butter for the opportunity to buy Buy One Get One Free field level seats.
Tickets for that contest and all remaining 2014 Smokies home games are still available and can be purchased online at www.smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at (865) 286-2300.