Kris Bryant was 2-for-4 with three runs batted in, Rubi Silva drove in two and recorded his first multi hit game of the season and C.J. Edwards allowed just two runs over six innings pitched as the Smokies defeated the Barons 8-3 at Regions Field on Sunday evening.
Edwards started for Tennessee (8-9) and retired the first seven straight to start the game. The streak ended when Jaime Pedroza struck out, but reached on a wild pitch. Edwards (1-0) allowed just three hits and five baserunners in the game while earning his first victory of the season.
Chris Beck took the loss after allowing six earned runs on eight hits over 4 and 1/3 innings. Beck (2-2) walked two and did not strikeout a Smokies batter in the loss. He is the first opposing starter to have not recorded a strikeout against the Smokies since Jonathan Broxton’s one inning start against Tennessee on April 5 in Pensacola.
Tennessee jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first after lead off man John Andreoli started the game with a first pitch single. Andreoli went on to steal second and score two batters later on a single to right from Bryant.
Andreoli’s first inning run was the first scored by the Smokies in the first inning this season since opening night in Pensacola. The Smokies scored twice that night in the first on April 3 against the Blue Wahoos on a first inning home run by Bryant.
The 1-0 Tennessee lead held through the third, but was lost after Miguel Gonzalez came through with a two-run single off Edwards. Edwards allowed two hits and walked one in the fourth. The Gonzalez double put the Barons up 2-1. It was their only lead of the game.
The Smokies answered the two run Birmingham fourth with a five run outburst in the fifth. The rally started with both Charlie Cutler and Jeudy Valdez hitting balls back to the mound. Both hits caromed off Beck and both runners were safe on the bases. Beck then walked Andreoli and with the bases loaded, Stephen Bruno came through with a single to deep short. Silva followed with a single that scored both Valdez and Andreoli. Andreoli beat a throw home to score the inning’s third run and Bryant capped the rally with two-run single to center.
The five run inning gave the Smokies a 6-2 lead. It was their second largest run producing inning of the season. Their team high was a six run inning on April 13 against Chattanooga.
Beck left after allowing Bryant’s single and reliever Parker Frazier finished the inning with a strikeout of Dustin Geiger and a Rafael Lopez groundout.
The Smokies added to their lead in the seventh with help of a misplay at second by Major Leaguer Gordon Beckham. Bruno scored on Beckham’s errant throw to first after he tried to retire Silva for the inning’s second out. Bruno had earlier reached on a double off Frazier. Silva later scored on a two-out single to center by Geiger.
Beckham drove in the final Birmingham run with a solo home run off reliever Hunter Cervenka in the eighth. Cervenka followed Edwards and allowed just two hits over two innings. He struck out two and walked one.
Armando Rivero finished the game for the Smokies. He struck out one over a scoreless ninth.
The series is now tied 1-1 and continues on Monday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 12:30 pm ET at Regions Field. Dae-Eun Rhee is scheduled to start for the Smokies against Birmingham’s Myles Jaye.