Smokies starting pitcher Ivan Pineyro tossed nearly seven solid innings, third baseman Kris Bryant blasted a solo homer and center fielder John Andreoli stole home, while the Jackson Generals plated five ninth-inning runs for a 5-2 comeback victory over Tennessee on Friday evening at Smokies Stadium.
The victory moves Jackson to a 9-6 record in 2014, while the Smokies dropped to 7-8. The Generals also earned a series win with the rubber match win.
Pineyro (6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO) spun a gem in his 6.2 solid frames on the mound, fanning a season-high eight Generals hitters while yielding two just hits and walking one. The only blemishes on Pineyro’s resume were SS Ketel Marte’s first-inning single, while DH Jabari Blash doubled to left in the fourth and walked in the sixth, though he did not factor in the final decision.
The Smokies bats, meanwhile, were also held quiet until the fifth, when Tennessee collected their first hit and later their first tally of the contest. SS Jeudy Valdez singled to left, while CF John Andreoli double down the left field line, and then took third after Valdez was thrown out at the plate. After 2B Stephen Bruno was hit by a pitch to place runners at the corners, Hobson tossed a pickoff throw to first, with Andreoli taking off on the throw and diving head-first into home ahead of C John Hicks’ tag to swipe the plate.
Tennessee then took a two-run advantage thanks to Bryant’s longball. The roundtripper to left was the fourth of the year for the eighth-best prospect in baseball, tying him with teammate Dustin Geiger for the Southern League lead. The homer also extended Bryant’s on-base streak to 14 games, the longest active stretch in the circuit.
The Generals were kept off the board until the ninth, when they broke through with a five-spot in the final frame. Marte and Blash started the ninth with back-to-back walks before both came across on RF Kevin Rivers’ game-tying double to the right-center field gap, drawing the game all square at 2-2. 3B Ramon Morla and 1B Mickey Wiswll would then reach on a fielder’s choice and single, respectively, with Moral coming home on C John Hicks’ RBI double to right.
LF Leon Landry capped the scoring spurt with his two-run base knock to left, bringing in both Wiswall and Hicks to make it 5-2.
Generals relief pitcher Mayckol Guaipe (2.0 IP, 3 H, 4 SO) earned the victory by tossing the final two frames, while Smokies reliever Ryan Searle (2.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB) suffered the defeat to drop to 1-1 on the year.
The Smokies will next hit the road for a five-game series with the Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, at Regions Field. The series opener is set for Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET, with right-hander Matt Loosen (1-1, 4.50) set to take the mound for Tennessee. The Barons are anticipated to counter Loosen with right-hander Nick McCully (2-0, 0.00) in Birmingham.
Following their five-game road trip, the Smokies will return home to Kodak on Thursday, April 24 for a five-game set with the Huntsville Stars. Tickets are still available for that five-game series and the remainder of Tennessee’s 2014 home slate, and can be purchased online at www.smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at (865) 286-2300.
Listen to Manager Buddy Bailey’s postgame thoughts below: