PENSACOLA — Kris Bryant hit a two-run home run in his first Smokies at-bat, Zeke DeVoss tripled in a run in the second, but the Blue Wahoos rallied for two in the eighth inning to defeat the Smokies and take the 2014 season opener 6-5 at Bayfront Stadium in Pensacola on Thursday night.
The Smokies (0-1) had a 5-4 lead going into the eighth before the Blue Wahoos (1-0) scored twice to take their first lead of the game. Brodie Green put them on top with a bases loaded single off Tennessee reliever Tony Zych (0-1). Zych allowed five hits and two earned runs in the loss.
Blue Wahoos reliever Carlos Contreras entered in the sixth and eventually picked up the win. Contreras (1-0) kept the Smokies scoreless over three innings and scattered two hits.
Major Leaguer Mat Latos started for the Blue Wahoos as part of a rehabilitation assignment. He allowed seven hits, five runs, three earned runs, walked two and struck out three in his appearance.
Smokies starting pitcher Dae-Eun Rhee walked four, struck out four and kept the Blue Wahoos to just two hits over his four inning start. Rhee did not earn a decision and kept Pensacola without a hit through the first two and 2 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs and two earned in his season debut.
Bryant’s home run to left came on a 3-0 pitch from Latos and gave the Smokies an early 2-0 lead. Bryant was hit once and was 1-for-3 with a walk, two runs, two runs batted in and the first inning home run.
DeVoss extended the lead to 3-0 with his triple off Latos. Rhee had a single earlier in the inning and scored on DeVoss first triple of the season.
Tennessee moved out in front 5-0 in the third with help of a Pensacola error and a run scoring double from Rafael Lopez.
Pensacola’s first hit came on a ground ball that rolled between the legs of Byrant at third. That misplay later turned into a run and an error by shortstop Jeudy Valdez led to another later in the inning.
Pensacola cut the Tennessee lead to 5-3 in the fourth when Steve Selsky pinch hit for Latos and drove in Juan Silverio with a sacrifice fly. Silverio scored again in the sixth on a double by Dustin Lohman off Smokies reliever Ryan Searle. Searle allowed a hit, one run, walked three and struck out five over three innings.
Latos was followed by Mikey O’Brien, Contreras and Drew Hayes. Hayes struck out two in the ninth and earned his first save of the season.
The Smokies had five extra base hits and stranded nine in the loss.
Silverio and Lohman accounted for the three Pensacola extra base hits. Silverio doubled twice and scored three runs.