By: Adam Kline
KODAK, Tenn. – A better script could not have been written for the Tennessee Smokies in Friday night’s affair against the Chattanooga Lookouts. Javier Baez’s two-run walk-off home run propelled the Smokies to an 8-6 win over the Lookouts in front of 5,802 at Smokies Park. With the win, Tennessee improves to 33-20 on the second half, 67-55 overall.
Once again, the Lookouts (16-37, 51-72) got on the board early in the game, as back-to-back RBI-hits by J.T. Wise and Jeremy Moore off Smokies starter Matt Loosen gave Chattanooga a 2-0 lead. The Smokies answered quickly with two runs of their own in the first inning to tie the game at two apiece. After Rubi Silva reached on a throwing error by Miguel Rojas, Justin Bour singled to move Silva to third. The next batter, Christian Villanueva, hit his league-leading 37th double of the season to score both Silva and Bour, tying the game.
The Lookouts would regain the lead in the fourth inning off of a two-run home run by Joc Pederson, making the score 4-2. Pederson hit a two-run home run in last night’s game as well.
Loosen would be chased from the game after throwing 92 pitches in only four innings. He gave up six hits, six earned runs, walked five and struck out five.
With the score 4-2 in the fifth inning, the Lookouts would bring two more across the plate to make the score 6-2. Reliever P.J. Francescon took over for Loosen in the fifth and gave up a hit and a walk in the inning. Francescon pitched two innings of relief, giving up a hit, walked two and struck out one.
In the sixth inning, Jonathan Mota hit a two-run home run, his seventh longball of the season, to bring the Smokies within two, 6-4. Villanueva walked earlier in the inning and scored on the home run.
The Smokies would tie the game in the eighth inning on a two-run bloop single by Mota. Silva and Javier Baez scored on the play after they hit singles in the inning.
With extra innings looming, John Andreoli singled in the ninth inning on a bunt to the pitcher and stole second. Two batters later, Baez connected on his 14th home run of the season to give the Smokies a walk-off victory.
Reliever Armando Rivero, made his Double-A debut, and pitched two scoreless innings in relief, giving up a walk and striking out four. Hunter Cervenka (5-1) came in to pitch an inning of relief and issued two walks, but struck out a batter in the inning to escape the jam.
Mota finished the game 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Villanueva went 1-for-2 with a double, two RBIs and two walks.
The Smokies and Lookouts will face-off one final time at Smokies Park this season on Saturday night at 6:15. Tennessee will send southpaw Eric Jokisch (10-10, 3.47) to the mound facing off against Lookouts righty Ross Stripling (5-3, 3.00). The first 1,500 fans to Smokies Park will receive the final bobblehead from the Gold Glove Bobblehead Series, featuring 2009 Smokies infielder Darwin Barney. For tickets or more information, visit www.smokiesbaseball.com or call 865-286-2300.
AUDIO RECAP SMOKIES 8 Lookouts 6
JAVIER BAEZ POSTGAME INTERVIEW