JACKSON – Tennessee second baseman Stephen Bruno set single game career highs with four hits, four runs batted in and two home runs in Tennessee’s comeback 10-6 road win versus the Jackson Generals on Saturday night at Generals Park.
Bruno was 4-for-6 with three runs, a single and two home runs. Through 10 games in May, Bruno is 21-for-40 with four home runs, 16 runs batted in and 16 runs scored.
Kris Bryant also had a big night for the Smokies (21-15) in their series opening win in Jackson (15-21). Bryant was 2-for-5 with a home run and two runs batted in. The home run was his Southern League best 10th of the season. Jeudy Valdez also hit a game tying home run in the fourth. It was his third of the year.
Reliever P.J. Francescon (4-1, 0.87) earned the win for the Smokies. He held the Generals to a run on just one hit over three scoreless innings. Francescon followed starter Ivan Pineyro in the fifth and struck out two. Francescon has allowed only two earned runs over 20 and 2/3 innings this season. He has not allowed a run over his last three games and 7 and 1/3 innings pitched.
Jackson’s Tanner Shipers (0-3, 6.55) took the loss after allowing two earned runs on five hits over 1 and 1/3 innings pitched. He walked two and struck out two.
The Smokies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first off Jackson starter Kyle Hunter. The rally started with a one-out double by Bruno and continued with a single from Bryant and a double by Jorge Soler. Bryant’s knock to center scored Bruno and Soler’s brought Bryant around to score.
Pineyro allowed two hits in the first and would see the Generals bring across a run to cut the lead in half. Pineyro started the inning by hitting Jamal Austin with a pitch, but was able to retire two of the next three he faced. With one out in the inning Pineyro retired Kevin Rivers with a fly out and he then got Manny Pina to hit a playable grounder to third. Byrant miss played the ball and his poor throw to first allowed Pina to reach safely and Austin to score.
Jackson took their first lead of the game in the second after Pineyro gave up a grand slam to Dan Paolini. Pineyro allowed four hits and four earned runs in the second. The inning started with a strikeout, but continued with consecutive singles from Jack Marder, Patrick Brady and Austin. Paolini’s grand slam was his second home run of the season and it gave the Generals a 5-2 lead.
Bruno brought the Smokies back into the game in the third when he clubbed a two-run home run to left. John Andreoli led off the inning with a walk and scored on Bruno’s home run. The homer was his second of year and was his second hit of the game.
The Smokies trailed 5-4 until Valdez hit a game tying home run in the fourth. The home run was his third of the season and it knocked Hunter out of the game.
Hunter allowed five earned runs on five hits over just 3 and 1/3 innings pitched. He walked two and struck out three.
Taylor Davis broke the tie in the fifth after he brought in both Rubi Silva and Dustin Geiger with a run scoring single to left. The singles from Silva, Geiger and Davis came in consecutive order and Davis’ two-run single put the Smokies up 7-5.
Jackson cut into the lead again in the sixth with two hits a run off Pineyro. Rivers started the inning with a double and scored moments later on a single to right-center from Pina.
Pineyro left the game after allowing Pina’s run scoring hit. He allowed six earned runs on nine hits over four plus innings. He walked one and struck out one and did not earn a decision.
Bryant gave the Smokies some breathing room in the eighth when he smashed his league leading 10th home run of the season off Jackson reliever Mayckol Guaipe. Bryant’s homer came with one out in the inning and moved the Smokies up by two at 8-6.
A lead off single from Valdez opened the Tennessee ninth and Bruno closed it with a two-out, two-run home run to left. Bruno’s home run came in his last at bat and was his fourth hit of the game. He was a triple short of the cycle.
Hunter Cervenka pitched the eighth and Armando Rivero finished the ninth. Cervenka walked one and struck out one over his scoreless inning of work. Rivero walked two, but kept the Generals quiet in the ninth. Cervenka’s ERA fell to just 1.15 while Rivero’s went to 1.45 on the year.
The club returns home to Kodak on Wednesday May 21 to open a five-game homestand with the Mobile BayBears, the Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at Smokies Stadium.
Tickets for all remaining 2014 Smokies home games are still available and can be purchased online at http://www.smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at (865) 286-2300.