Smokies take back first place with 3-2 win Wednesday

KODAK, Tenn. (WVLT/Submitted) -- Jonathan Mota’s RBI-single broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning to give the Tennessee Smokies a 3-2 victory over the Birmingham Barons Wednesday night at Smokies Park. With the win, the Smokies reclaimed first place from the Barons and improved their record to 23-15 in the second half, 57-50 overall.

Both teams exchanged putting zeroes on the scoreboard to start the game until the Smokies jumped ahead in the third inning when Javier Baez hit a two-run home run off Barons starter Chris Bassitt. The home run was Baez’s 11th of the season and went an estimated 426 feet to center, scoring Chad Noble, who reached on a leadoff double.

Smokies starter Matt Loosen, making his first Double-A start since being promoted on July 27, surrendered single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to tie the game at two. Loosen finished the night going 5.1 innings, giving up three hits, two earned runs, four walks and struck out three. He did not factor into the decision.

Brett Jackson led off the seventh inning with a single, stole second and scored when Jonathan Mota hit a clutch, RBI-single to give the Smokies a 3-2 lead.

Jeff Antigua (1-0) pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, giving up a hit, three walks and striking out three Barons batters.

Closer Frank Batista came in and notched his 14th save of the season, sealing the Smokies victory.

Bissitt (2-1) took the loss for Birmingham, giving up six hits, three earned runs, a walk and struck out four during his seven innings of work.

With the five-game series now tied at two games apiece, the Smokies and Barons will face off in the rubber match Thursday afternoon at Noon at Smokies Park. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks (10-3, 1.87) faces off against Baron’s lefty Scott Snodgress (11-7, 3.88).

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