Dustin Geiger was 2-for-2 with two runs batted in, John Andreoli was 2-for-4 with three runs and Rafael Lopez hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh as the Smokies defeated the Lookouts 4-3 in the first game of a five game series at AT&T Field on Wednesday night. Geiger collected both hits and drove in both runs off rehabbing Major Leaguer Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw allowed two runs (one earned) over five full innings. He gave up six hits, walked two and struck out nine. He threw 86 pitches, including 57 for strikes.
Ivan Pineyro started for the Smokies (13-13) and pitched into the sixth inning. He left after allowing a two-out single to relief pitcher Raybel Sanchez who relieved Kershaw in the sixth. Pineyro allowed three runs while scattering seven hits over 5 and 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.
Ryan Searle pitched the remainder of the sixth inning and was able to get Sweeney to ground out to end it. Searle (2-1) stayed in for the seventh and kept the Lookouts scoreless. He did not allow a hit and walked one while earning the win.
Kershaw started the game with a leadoff walk of Andreoli and allowed a two-out run scoring double to Geiger later in the inning and the Smokies took a 1-0 lead in the first.
The Lookouts (11-14) tied things up with a run scoring double from Scott Schebler in the bottom of the first. His double scored Darnell Sweeney after he reached on a leadoff walk from Pineyro.
Erisbel Arruebarrena doubled to start the Chattanooga fourth. Pineyro then retired Chris O’Brien with a ground out to second, but Arruebarrena went to third on the play. He then scored moments later on a squeeze bunt from Noel Cuevas and the Lookout went up 2-1.
The Smokies tied things again in the fifth when Andreoli and Geiger both collected hits in the inning. Andreoli started the fifth with a double, moved to third on a single from Jae-Hoon Ha and scored two batters later on Geiger’s single to left.
Geiger was 2-for-2 with two runs batted in and two walks. His first three at-bats came off Kershaw who left before the sixth.
Arruebarrena came up big for the Lookouts again in the sixth when he started the inning with a triple off Pineyro. A sacrifice fly to center from O’Brien brought Arruebarrena in and the Lookouts took a 3-2 lead.
Arruebarrena was 2-for-4 with two runs, a double and a triple in the game for Chattanooga.
Like Arruebarrena, Andreoli set the table and scored again in the Smokies half of the seventh. He tripled to start the seventh and scored on a sacrifice fly from Ha. Andreoli’s run tied the game at three, but that last just one more batter as catcher Rafael Lopez homered off Raydel Sanchez to give the Smokies the 4-3 lead.
Andreoli was 2-for-4 with three runs, a double and a triple for the Smokies. Lopez was 1-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts.
Hunter Cervenka pitched a scoreless eighth and struck out one before turning things over to Armando Rivero for the ninth. Rivero allowed a hit and struck out one while picking up his fifth save of the season.
Sweeney did reach safely on a misplay in shallow center and ended up at second in the ninth. He attempted to steal third, but was caught by Lopez for the inning’s second out. Rivero finished the game with a strikeout of Jeremy Hazelbaker.
The series continues in Chattanooga on Thursday night with Tennessee starter Matt Loosen set to face Chattanooga’s Tyson Brummett. The first pitch at AT&T Field is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET.
The Smokies return home to Smokies Park on Monday, May 5th for a five-game series against the Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The homestand is highlighted by a McGhee Tyson Airport Low Fare Monday, the first Frontline Heartgard Tail-Waggin’ Tuesday, All-You-Can-Eat Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday and a RAM Friday featuring Fireworks!
Visit smokiesbaseball.com or call (865) 286-2300 for ticket information.