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Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 7 on our list.
May 2: at Express 10, New Orleans 5
A six-run eighth inning gave the Express a 10-5 victory over the visiting Zephyrs at The Dell Diamond. Matt Kata’s two-run single keyed the scoring outburst, which gave Round Rock the season’s first victory when trailing after seven innings.
Trailing 5-4, Tommy Mendonca sparked the comeback with a leadoff single. Yangervis Solarte later singled home Mendonca to tie the game, and Kata’s two-run single proved to be the game-winner. Joey Butler added a two-run double and later scored on a two-out New Orleans error.
The six-run inning matched Round Rock’s highest-scoring frame of the season to that date and remained the team’s highest-scoring eighth inning throughout the season. Coincidentally, the Express also scored six ninth-inning runs at New Orleans two weeks prior.
Ben Snyder was credited with the victory in relief of starter Martin Perez after working around Sergio Pedroza’s leadoff single for a scoreless top of the eighth. Tanner Scheppers retired the side in order in the top of the ninth with two strikeouts in a non-save situation. It was part of an eight-outing stretch for Scheppers in which he did not allow a run, also part of an 11-appearance span in which he allowed one run in 11.0innings (0.82 ERA) with five saves in as many opportunities.
Mendonca finished 3-for-4, including a home run and two RBI. Eight of nine Express starters hit safely; Kata, Solarte, Luis Hernandez, Brad Nelson and Luis Martinez all enjoyed two-hit nights. It was the 13th game of Solarte’s eventual franchise-record, 22-game hitting streak. Greg Miclat, the lone Express batter without a hit, had two sacrifice bunts, including one following Mendonca’s eighth-inning leadoff single.
The victory was part of a 6-1 stretch for the Express that included series victories over New Orleans and Memphis. That run got Round Rock to 17-16, unfortunately the season’s lone day over .500.
No. 8: at Express 2, Oklahoma City 1 (Aug. 20)
No. 9: Express 10, at New Orleans 0 (April 22)
No. 10: at Omaha 9, Express 8 (16 innings; April 10)
No. 11: Express 6, at Oklahoma City 3 (Sept. 1)
No. 12: Express 14, at Reno 1 (Aug. 15)
TOP 12 GAMES OF 2012
Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Before we get to that list, here is a brief look at nine games that were considered but didn’t make the list.
April 15 vs. Iowa: Round Rock edged Iowa 11-10 in 13 innings – the longest home game this season and tied for the third-longest Triple-A game in The Dell Diamond’s history. Matt Kata’s sacrifice fly was the game-winner.
May 8 at Salt Lake: Five homers gave the Express an 11-9 victory. Dusty Brown, Joey Butler, Mike Bianucci, Yangervis Solarte and Brad Nelson provided the homers, and Round Rock scored in seven different innings at hitter-friendly Spring Mobile Park.
June 1 at Memphis: Despite getting out-hit 9-3, the Express blanked Memphis 3-0. Greg Reynolds scattered six singles and four walks with four strikeouts over seven innings. Elio Sarmiento and Dusty Brown had consecutive RBI singles in the second, and Joey Butler tacked on a ninth-inning solo homer.
June 17 vs. Oklahoma City: What a pitching matchup – Oswalt vs. Clemens. OK, the Clemens was Paul Clemens. Roy Oswalt allowed two runs on six hits and a walk over six innings with five strikeouts in his final game before joining the Rangers; it was his lone win with the Express. Greg Miclat homered in the second, and his two-run double in the sixth erased a broke a 2-2 ties as the Express won 4-2.
July 17 at Nashville: Round Rock scored two runs in the ninth to send the game to extra innings, and Luis Hernandez delivered a two-out RBI single in the 11th for a 5-4 Express win. Round Rock’s bullpen (Joe Ortiz, Aaron Heilman and Neil Cotts) tossed five shutout innings.
Aug. 3 vs. Tucson: After squandering a 6-0 lead over the final three innings, the Express plated two runs in the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 victory. Julio Borbon’s two-run single was the game-winner.
Aug. 21 vs. Oklahoma City: In his final win of the season, Zach Jackson limited the RedHawks to one run on seven hits and no walks over seven innings with seven strikeouts for a 4-1 Express victory. It was Jackson’s 20th win with the Express – a franchise record. Joey Butler’s sixth-inning solo homer snapped a 1-1 tie, and Leonys Martin added a two-run shot in the seventh.
Aug. 22 vs. Nashville: One night later, the Express overcame a 6-3 deficit entering the bottom of the eighth and eventually won 7-6 in 11 innings. This was the closest of the honorable mention games to make the top 12. Ryan Spilborghs clubbed a two-run homer in the eighth to pull the Express within a run. Matt Kata tied the game in the ninth with an RBI fielder’s choice. Manager Bobby Jones was ejected after a peculiar call on a double-play ball later in the ninth, a play in which Kata collided with Nashville second baseman Adrian Williams. Spilborghs came through in the 11th with a two-out RBI single.
And now on with the Top 12 list, starting today with No. 12:
Aug. 15: Express 14, at Reno 1
Scoring 14 runs on 19 hits in the 4,400-foot elevation of Reno was no big surprise. However, the ability of Martin Perez to hold the eventual PCL-champion Aces to one run on six hits and five walks over eight innings was quite impressive. The lone run came on Konrad Schmidt’s eighth-inning, two-out solo homer, ending Perez’s bid for his first career complete-game shutout.
All nine Express starters hit safely as the Express won their fifth straight game – the season’s longest streak at that date (they won a sixth straight the following night). Brad Snyder’s two-run double keyed a four-run second inning, and Round Rock never looked back, adding three in the third and two in the fourth. Brad Nelson’s two-run homer pushed the Express lead to 11-0 in the seventh, and Koyie Hill tacked on an RBI single later in the inning. Hill capped the scoring with a two-run homer in the ninth.
Perez posted his first road win with the Express since April 27 at Oklahoma City. It was the deepest into a game he carried a shutout in what was his 28th career Triple-A start. Perez escaped trouble in the fourth, inducing an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
It was Round Rock’s fifth straight game with at least 10 hits as the Express won for the 15th time in 21 games. Eight of nine batters had multiple-hit efforts; ironically, the lone exception was Luis Hernandez, who snapped a streak of nine consecutive multiple-hit outings. Leonys Martin ended a streak of four consecutive games with a homer but enjoyed a 4-for-6 effort nonetheless.
WHY FIRE SHOWALTER?
A couple weeks ago, we talked about the Baltimore Orioles’ success this year and how several members of the 2011 Express squad have played a part. We also asked when the Orioles will fire manager Buck Showalter. Here is the reason for the question:
Showalter managed three teams previously – the Yankees (1992-1995), Diamondbacks (1998-2000) and Rangers (2003-2006). In each case, his tenure ended with a firing. And, in each case, the succeeding manager led the team to a world series.
In 1994, Showalter guided the Yankees to a 70-43 record and was named American League Manager of the Year. New York owned baseball’s second-best record behind only Montreal (74-40). But the season was cut short due to the strike.
The following season, the Showalter-led Yankees were 79-65 and claimed the American League wild card – New York’s first playoff appearance since 1981. However, the Yankees lost to the Mariners 3-2 in the division series. Game 5 was one of the best playoff games in the wild-card era as Seattle edged New York 5-4. Randy Velarde’s one-out RBI single snapped a 4-4 tie in the top of the 11th, but Edgar Martinez won the game with a two-run double in the bottom of the inning that scored Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr. Coming off the bench for the Mariners in that game was rookie Alex Rodriguez; he replaced Tino Martinez, who would join the Yankees the following season.
Showalter was shown the door following the loss. Joe Torre took over, and the Yankees won four of the next five World Series.
A year later, Showalter was named inaugural manager of the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks – two years prior to the club’s first season. The D-backs were 65-97 in the first season (1998) but thundered to 100 wins and a division crown the following season thanks to off-season acquisitions of Randy Johnson, Armando Reynoso, Todd Stottlemyer and Steve Finley. Arizona lost to the New York Mets in the division series, and Showalter was fired after a lack-luster 85-77, third-place finish in 2000.
His replacement, Bob Brenly, followed Torre’s suit and guided the Diamondbacks to a World Series title in 2001, defeating none other than the Yankees in one of the best Game 7s in World Series history.
Showalter was unable to lead the Rangers to a playoff appearance in his four seasons at Arlington. However, he was named American League Manager in the Year in 2004, skippering the Rangers to an 89-73 record in his second season after a 71-91 mark in 2003. Texas finished third in the division, three games back of Anaheim and two games behind Oakland. It was the Rangers’ lone winning season with Showalter at the helm. He was fired following an 80-82 mark in 2006.
Showing Showalter the door in Arlington was then-29-year-old general manager John Daniels, who then hired Ron Washington. Four years later, the Rangers reached the World Series for the first time ever and returned the following season. Washington currently has Texas atop the division in pursuit of the Rangers first division three-peat.
So, surely the Orioles will fire Showalter after the Birds dip to a sub-.500 record next season. We’ll prognosticate former or soon-to-be-former players as potential replacements: Chipper Jones (retires after this season), Scott Rolen (has played for heralded managers Tony La Russa, Dusty Baker, Terry Francona and Larry Bowa), Derek Lee (clubhouse guy has played for Jack McKeon, Lou Pinella, Bobby Cox and Showalter) or Todd Helton (quietly one of this generation’s best hitters). However, the best bet among former players surely is Hall of Famer and former Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. – assuming he wants the job… and (of course) assuming it all comes to this.
One Down, One to Go: Tanner Scheppers struck out the side in the seventh in his first game back with the Express. His save preserved Round Rock’s 5-4 win. Game two in about 30 minutes.
Back-to-Back Blasts: Leonys Martin (12th) and Brad Nelson (24th) clubbed back-to-back homers with two outs in the top of the fourth, giving the Express a 5-3 lead. Round Rock’s last back-to-back homers were July 8 at Albuquerque – Matt Kata and Joey Butler. Nelson matched his 2011 home-run total with that blast.
Go Figure: Joey Butler, who played collegiately at the University of New Orleans, clubbed his 19th home run of the season in the top of the third, tying the game at 3-3. Ironically, it will go down as his 14th “road” homer of the season.
Chaser: Chase Lambin’s three-run homer in the bottom of the first put the Zephyrs up 3-2.
Mr. 200: Matt Kata delivered a two-out, two-run single in the top of the first. He now has 200 career RBI with the Express, joining Mark Saccomanno (236) and Brooks Conrad (221) as the only players in franchise history to reach the milestone.
First Pitch: We got underway at 5:48 p.m. – a 13-minute delay. Temperature at first pitch was 90 degrees – that’s 32 degrees in Nice, France.
Yes, We’re at Home: Round Rock “hosts” New Orleans tonight for a doubleheader at The Dell Diamond. However, the Zephyrs will be the designated home team and will bat last. First pitch of the opener is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. They’ve just pulled the tarp, so we should start on time.
Might As Well Be An Inch As A Mile: Express win 6-5.
Safe at Home: Ryan Spilborghs slid under Humberto Quintero’s tag at home, scoring the go-ahead run on Julio Borbon‘s fielder’s choice. Express lead 6-5 going to the ninth.
Call to the Pen: Martin Perez exits the game after seven innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts. His outing was better than the line would indicate. Perez righted the ship after a rough first inning pitched quite well other than the mistake pitch (Halton’s homer). Nonetheless, neither starter will factor in tonight’s decision. Fabio Castillo takes over on the mound for the Express, who left the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh. Still 5-5 going to the eighth.
Vargas Vacates… the mound. He worked six innings and allowed five runs on nine hits, one walk and one hit batter with six strikeouts. The Express matched the most hits against Vargas this season (Oklahoma City, June 19). Jesus Sanchez takes over on the mound for the Sounds. Still 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh.
Attendance: Tonight’s attendance – much like the cost in USD for one semester of out-of-state tuition at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Ore., for the 2011-2012 academic year – 10,382.
Tit For Tat: Joey Butler answered in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run blast. It was his 18th homer of the season and 30th in two years with the Express. He is the seventh player in franchise history with at least 30 home runs, a list that includes teammates Matt Kata (30) and Brad Nelson (46).
High-Power Halton: Sean Halton blasted a two-run homer in the top of the fifth, giving the Sounds a 5-3 lead. It was his third homer of the series (he had two in the opener). It was the first multiple-run homer allowed by Martin Perez since June 10 when Omaha’s Tony Abreu hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning. Perez has allowed one home run every other outing since. Sounds lead 5-3 now going to the bottom of the sixth.
Mr. Express: Matt Kata‘s third-inning RBI single knotted the game 3-3. Coupled with his first-inning single, that gives Kata 114 career multiple-hit games with the Express, tying Mark Saccomanno’s franchise record. Coincidentally, Kata also tied Saccomanno’s career games played record tonight (405).
Answer: Round Rock responded with two runs on four hits in the bottom of the inning – RBI singles from Leonys Martin and Joey Butler. Martin was thrown out at third, rounding too much on Matt Kata‘s infield single. That cost the Express at least a run. Sounds starter Claudio Vargas matched his season high for most runs allowed in the first inning; he also surrendered two first-inning runs June 19 vs. Oklahoma City. Sounds lead 3-2 through one inning.
Shaky First: Martin Perez surrendered three first-inning runs – the most he’s allowed in the first inning since a four-run first May 25 at Nashville. In fact, it was the first time he allowed more than two runs in any inning since surrendering three runs in the fourth inning June 10 at Iowa – a span of 49.2 innings over six starts and one relief appearance. Sounds lead 3-0 in the bottom of the first.
First Pitch: We’re underway at 7:07 p.m. Temperature at first pitch was 90 degrees – that’s 32 degrees in Triesenberg, Liechtenstein.
23 August 2012 | The Dell Diamond | Round Rock, Texas
Records: Express (63-70), Sounds (61-72)
– Round Rock leads series 2-0
– Round Rock leads season series 7-6
– Game 3 of series Friday at 7:05 p.m. CDT
– Friday’s scheduled starters: RR – RHP Justin Grimm (2-2, 4.37 ERA); NAS – RHP Hiram Burgos (0-2, 4.30 ERA)
ROUND ROCK four-game winning streak … won 10 of last 13 games … improved to 20-9 since July 26 – PCL’s best record in that time … won 12 of last 14, 18 of last 22 vs. Nashville at The Dell Diamond … clubbed eight homers over last three games … at least one homer in four of last five games, 10 of last 13 … improved to 50-4 when leading after eight innings.
CHAD BELL claimed first win since July 18 at Nashville … first win at The Dell Diamond since July 1 vs. New Orleans (0-3 in five home starts since) … held opponent scoreless for second time in 12 starts (6.0 innings, July 1 vs. New Orleans) … held opponent to three or fewer earned run for sixth time (four of last six starts) … allowed one run over 11.0 innings in last two starts … 10-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio over last two starts.
JOE ORTIZ stranded both inherited runners … stranded 12 of 15 inherited runners with Express (80.0 percent).
JULIO BORBON (0-for-3, walk) snapped nine-game hitting streak (.462, 18-for-39).
LUIS HERNANDEZ (1-for-4) hit safely in 17 of last 18 games (34-for-82), 22 of last 25 games (43-for-113).
LEONYS MARTIN (0-for-4) snapped 12-game hitting streak (.444, 24-for-54) … second hitless outing in last 24 games with Express (.396, 40-for-101) … snapped streak of eight consecutive games with at least one run scored (15 runs).
BRAD NELSON (1-for-2, two walks) clubbed 22nd homer, 11th in 39 games since All-Star break … moved into tie for ninth-best season total in Express history (Triple-A era) … joined Mark Saccomanno and Brooks Conrad as the only Express players to hit at least 22 homers in multiple seasons (24 homers last season) … hit safely in 20 of 23 home games since All-Star break (.395, 32-for-81) … snapped streak of 10 straight games with at least one strikeout.
MATT KATA (2-for-4) clubbed ninth home run (third since June 1) … 30th career home run with Express (sixth in franchise history) … 113th career multiple-hit effort, one shy of Mark Saccomanno’s franchise record … 403rd career game with Express, two shy of Saccomanno’s record.
JOEY BUTLER (1-for-4) extended hitting streak to 11 games (.319, 15-for-47).
RYAN SPILBORGHS (2-for-3, walk) delivered second-inning, two-run double that proved to be game-winning hit … hit safely in 10 of last 12 games … hitting .500 (22-for-44) in 12 games vs. Nashville this season with three homers, 14 RBI, six doubles … hitting .434 (36-for-83) in 23 career games vs. Nashville.
ALBERTO GONZALEZ (0-for-1) left game after being hit by pitch in fourth inning.
YANGERVIS SOLARTE (0-for-2) dropped to 5-for-28 over last six-plus games … hit into 28th double play – six more than any other player in baseball regardless of level.
ROBINZON DIAZ (1-for-3) hit safely in all four games with Express.
Pivotal Inning: Nashville loaded the bases with one out in the seventh but managed only one run on Logan Schafer’s sacrifice fly. Joe Ortiz spelled Derek Hankins and inherited runners on the corners with two outs. Ortiz stranded both inherited runners and has stranded 12 of 15 inherited runners with the Express. That was the only batter Ortiz would face as Willie Eyre takes over on the mound as we start the eighth. Express lead 5-1.
Here’s To You, Mr. Robinzon: Robinzon Diaz delivered a two-out RBI single later in the sixth. Express lead 5-0 going to the seventh.
Catch 22: Brad Nelson led off the bottom of the sixth with his 22nd homer of the season, tying for the ninth-best tally in Express history (Triple-A era). After hitting 24 homers last season, Nelson joins Mark Saccomanno and Brooks Conrad as the only Express players to hit at least 22 homers in multiple seasons. Nelson’s 46 career homers with Round Rock places him fifth in franchise history behind Conrad (67), Saccomanno (64), Luke Scott (51) and Cody Ransom (49). Behind Nelson are Joey Butler and Matt Kata with 29 each.
Bellwether Outing: Express starter Chad Bell worked five shutout innings, scattering five hits (two doubles, one triple) and working around two walks. He struck out five, including two in the third inning. However, he had only one 1-2-3 inning (fourth) and was stretched to five full counts (Nashville batters were 3-for-5 with two doubles and a triple in those at bats). That added up to 85 pitches through five innings (51 strikes). Bell worked ahead on 11 of 20 batters faced, and the Sounds were 1-for-6 with four strikeouts when falling behind 0-2. As we suggested in tonight’s “Players to Watch,” Bell got through the third inning unscathed and left in line for the win. Derek Hankins spelled Bell to start the sixth with the Express still leading 3-0.
As a Matt-er of Fact: Matt Kata clubbed a solo homer with one out in the fourth – his ninth of the season. Coupled with a second-inning single, this is Kata’s 113th career multiple-hit game with the Express – one shy of Mark Saccomanno’s franchise record (Triple-A era). Express lead 3-0 through four.
That Looked Very Familiar: Ryan Spilborghs doubled just inside the third-base line with one out in the bottom of the second, scoring two runs. It looked almost exactly like his game winning hit from last night. As we mentioned in tonight’s “Players to Watch,” Spilborghs owns Nashville. He’s now 21-for-42 with three homers, 14 RBI and six doubles in 12 games this season against the Sounds. Express lead 2-0 going to the third.
Deja Blue All Over Again… Again: Round Rock is wearing blue jerseys tonight for the fourth straight game. The Express won each of the last three. If it ain’t broke…
First Pitch: Underway at 7:07 p.m. tonight. Temperature at first pitch was 91 degrees – that’s 33 degrees in Ponta Figa, São Tomé and Príncipe.
BRANDON SNYDER has slumped to 2-for-18 since his third-inning single Aug. 15 at Reno, and he failed to reach base safely last night for the first time in 12 games. Look for him to reverse both trends tonight.
BRAD NELSON earned an evening of rest last night. It was his first since the Aug. 9 team off-day. Nelson has hit at a torrid pace since the All-Star break (.319, 10 HR, 26 RBI), especially at The Dell Diamond (.392, 7 HR, 14 RBI). He is tied for seventh in the PCL with 21 home runs (tied for 11th in Triple-A), fourth with 225 total bases (seventh in Triple-A) and tied for fourth with 51 extra-base hits. Given all that and a right-hander on the mound (.308, 17 HR, 59 RBI vs. righties), it’s hard not to take Nelson.
JAPANESE-BORN RELIEVERS: We’ll go out on a limb and predict that Yoshinori Tateyama and/or Koji Uehara will pitch in relief tonight (more likely the former). Uehara worked a scoreless inning of relief in a rehab assignment last night with two strikeouts; he likely will pitch again with the Express, but it may not be tonight. Tateyama has not pitched since Saturday. He is 2-0 with four saves, 21 strikeouts and no runs allowed over 19.1 innings in 15 outings at The Dell Diamond.
MATT KATA hit safely in six of his last eight games (.364, 12-for-33) with eight RBI. However, he is 2-for-21 over his last seven home games. He’s due.
BRAD NELSON hit safely in 17 of 20 home games since All-Star break (28-for-70).
YANGERVIS SOLARTE is hitless in each of last two games, his first consecutive hitless games since July 23-24. He has not gone three straight games this season, and his current 0-for-11 skid is his longest of the season. He’s due, as well.
Close, But No Cigar: Round Rock loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth but couldn’t get a run across. Oklahoma City wins 5-2. The Express left the bases loaded in two of the last three innings.
Grimm Outcome: Oklahoma City takes a 4-2 lead on Carlos Corporan’s seventh-inning, two-run single. Justin Grimm got ahead 0-2 and made a good pitch in on Corporan’s hands; but, Corporan fisted a lollipop liner over the infield for the go-ahead hit. Ben Snyder spelled Grimm and got the Express out of the inning without further damage. Grimm went six and one-third innings and allowed four runs – three earned – on seven hits, one walk and one hit batter with three strikeouts. All in all, he pitched better than his line would indicate.
Snyder Warning: Ben Snyder beginning to loosen in the Express bullpen. His brother made the final out of the last inning, so it would be a while before a potential squaring off.
Hamburger, Hill: Mark Hamburger got a fly ball to center, walked Yangervis Solarte and struck out Koyie Hill to get the RedHawks out of the sixth. The Express left the bases loaded as Hamburger stranded both runners inherited from starter Fernando Abad, who allowed two runs on six hits, a walk and one hit batter with three strikeouts over five and two-thirds innings. Still 2-2 going to the seventh.
Hey! I Know That Guy! Former Express pitcher Mark Hamburger is now on the mound for Oklahoma City. Hamburger, who was designated for assignment when Roy Oswalt was added to the Rangers 40-man roster in June, spent five weeks with Tucson (San Diego Padres) before being released and signing with the Astros in mid-June. He is 0-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 11 appearances with the RedHawks. Hamburger is on the Astros 40-man roster.
Tonight’s Attendance: Much like what Godzilla did when he wanted a hot dog and a Slurpee, he… 8711.
Fourth-Degree Burns: Brad Snyder’s RBI double and a two-out throwing error allowed the RedHawks to tie the game 2-2 in the top of the fourth.
Did You Know? Thanks to his first-inning single, Brad Nelson has hit safely in 17 of 20 home games since the All-Star break. He is 27-for-67 (.403) at The Dell Diamond in that time.
King of the Hill: Koyie Hill laced a two-out RBI single to left-center, giving the Express a 2-0 lead after two innings. Credit the run to Ryan Spilborghs running on a full-count pitch to Brandon Snyder with one out. Snyder grounded out to short on a ball that likely would have been an inning-ending double play without Spilborghs in motion. Hill, who joined the Express last week, has hit safely in three of his first four games with the E-Train.
Snyder, Snyder… Snyder: Two Snyders are in tonight’s game… at least for now – Express third baseman Brandon Snyder and Oklahoma City right fielder Brad Snyder. While those two Snyders are not related, Brad Snyder is the brother of Express reliever Ben Snyder. The brothers faced each other three times this season; Brad is 1-for-3 with a strikeout.
Boom Boom Borbon: Julio Borbon homered on the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning – a towering shot down the right-field line that landed just shy of the pool. It was Borbon’s ninth homer of the season. He had nine homers in 264 career minor league games entering this season. Borbon had 16 homers in 479 career professional games prior to 2012. It was Borbon’s first homer since July 29 at Memphis and first at The Dell Diamond since June 16 against Oklahoma City. Express lead 1-0 after the first inning.
First Pitch: Underway at 6:09 p.m.
Final: Joey Butler doubled with two outs in the ninth, but that was the last gasp for the Express. Nelson struck out to end the game. Oklahoma City takes the opener 5-4.
Costly Error: Willie Eyre’s throwing error in the eighth leads to three unearned runs. Oklahoma City takes a 5-4 lead with a four-run inning.
It’s never too early to start thinking about next season. See next year’s home schedule here: http://atmilb.com/QNNL1q
38 Special, Redux: Chad Bell finishes the third inning with 38 pitches – matching his mound counterpart’s first-inning total. Express lead 2-0 heading to the bottom of the third inning.
38 Special: Oklahoma City starter Jose Cisnero labors through a 38-pitch bottom of the first that lasts more than 20 minutes. Matt Kata gets a sacrifice fly, pushing E-Train lead to 2-0.
Nelson’s Eleven: Brad Nelson’s first-inning single halts his 0-for-11 skid and gives the Express a 1-0 lead.
Hits Just Keep On Coming: Luis Hernandez extends his hitting streak to 14 games with a first-inning infield single. He is 29-for-61 during the streak.
First Pitch: We got underway at 6:08 p.m.