Tennessee pitchers walked a season high 11 batters and committed two errors in a 5-4 road loss in Birmingham at Regions Field on Saturday night. Starter Matt Loosen walked a career high seven batters, but it was reliever Jeff Lorick who suffered the loss after walking two and allowing two unearned runs.
Loosen allowed three hits and three earned runs over 3 and 2/3 innings. He struck out five, but walked seven, including three in the third.
Lorick (0-1) pitched part of the fourth and the fifth in place of Loosen. He allowed two unearned runs, walked two and gave up two hits over 1 and 1/3 innings.
The Smokies (7-9) were charged with two errors in the game, including an error in the two run Birmingham (9-7) fifth. There were three lead changes in the game, four combined errors and 15 base on balls between the two pitching staffs.
Tennessee jumped out in front 2-0 in the second with help of a fielding error by shortstop Jaime Pedroza to start the inning. Dustin Geiger reached on that error and scored two batters later when Charlie Cutler doubled to left. Jae-Hoon Ha also scored in the inning. He followed Cutler with a walk and scored when Jeudy Valdez ground out to short later in the inning.
The Smokies 2-0 lead, however, did not last long as the Barons rallied for two of their own to tie it in their half of the second. Loosen walked Rangel Ravelo to start the inning, but then came right back with back-to-back strikeouts. Keenyn Walker kept the inning and got the Barons on the board with a run scoring double which cut the lead to 2-1. Micah Johnson immediately followed with an infield single to second and Walker scored the tying run to make it 2-2.
Birmingham took their first lead in the third when they rallied for a hit and a run. Loosen issued a one-out walk to Trayce Thompson and later gave up a two-out double to Josh Richmond. Richmond’s hit scored Thompson to give the Barons a 3-2 lead.
Kris Bryant led off the Smokies half of the fifth with a double and scored three batters later when Charlie Cutler reached on an error. Valdez struck again with a single to score Ha who had reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning and the Smokies took a 4-3 lead.
Once again, the Barons bounced right back and rallied for two runs in the last of the fifth to take the lead back at 5-4. Lorick then replaced the starter Loosen in the fourth and was in for the two run Barons fifth.
Ravelo started the fifth with a double and the inning continued with Pedroza reaching on an error by the third baseman Wes Darvil. Lorick went on to strikeout Jeremy Farrell, and then got an out at the plate when a grounder from Walker was used to retire Ravelo at home for the inning’s second out. With two outs in the inning Lorick walked Johnson and then allowed a bases loaded double to rehabbing Major Leaguer Gordon Beckham.
Beckham’s double plated Pedroza and Walker and it gave the Barons the lead at 5-4.
Nick McCully started for Birmingham and allowed five walks, four hits and four runs (two earned) over 4 and 1/3 innings. Vance kept the Smokies scoreless over 1 and 2/3 innings. He struck out three in the win. David Cales and Nelvin Fuentes also appeared in the game for the Barons. Cales allowed three hits, but struck out three and did not allow a run over two innings. Fuentes locked up the ninth and got the save. He struck out two faced three batters.
The series continues with game 2 scheduled for Sunday at 6:00 pm ET in Birmingham. C.J. Edwards is scheduled to start for the Smokies. He is matched up opposite Chris Beck.