Cervenka and Castillo Lose Late Lead in 6-5 Loss

Christian Villanueva Running

BIRMINGHAM – Relievers Hunter Cervenka and Lendy Castillo lost a four run lead in the eighth and a fielding error by Jonathan Mota in the ninth allowed the winning run to score in Tennessee’s 6-5 loss to Birmingham on Sunday evening.

The loss dropped Tennessee (19-18, 52-54) back into second place behind the now Second Half Standings leading Barons (19-17, 48-58).

Cervenka and Castillo were charged with four runs allowed in the game changing eighth inning. Cervenka allowed two while not recording an out in his second inning of work. Castillo also allowed two runs while walking one and allowing two hits in the inning.

Andrew McKirahan suffered the tough luck loss after being on the mound in the ninth when the Barons scored the winning run. He started the inning with a strikeout of Josh Richmond and got Jared Mitchell to ground out. But, with two outs, Trayce Thompson singled to left-center to keep the inning alive.

Thompson went on to steal second behind McKirahan (0-2) and then scored on Christian Marrerro’s misplayed groundball to second. Mota attempted to field the slow roller hit to him at second by Marrerro, but lost the handle. He was slow to pick it back up and Thompson never broke stride while scoring all the way from second to win the game.

Reliever Nestor Molina earned the win. He pitched out of a jam in the eighth and stranded two runners on base while keeping the Smokies off the board. Molina (5-2) gave up one hit over 2/3 of an inning and struck out one.

Unlike the first game of the series, in game two it was the Barons who struck first. They rallied for three hits and scored once against Tennesssee starter Corey Black in the fourth to take 1-0 lead.

Rangel Ravelo led off the fourth with a single to third. The infield single was the first hit of the game for the Barons. Ravelo would be caught moments later while trying steal second base. With one out in the inning, the very next batter was Kevan Smith and he would launch a solo home run to center.

Black allowed three hits in the third including a single, a home run and a ground rule double. He got out of the inning without allowing any more runs to score and was able to limit the damage.

Saturday’s game in Birmingham between the Barons and Smokies was a back-and-forth battle and the same was partly true for Sunday’s game. Tennessee answered the one run Barons’ fourth with a one run fifth to tie the game.

The Smokies not only scored once in the fifth, but they did it in the same fashion as Birmingham had in the previous inning. Jae-Hoon Ha hit a solo home run on the first pitch of his at bat against Mick Recchia and the Smokies tied the game 1-1. It was Ha’s third home run this season and his second in Birmingham.

Recchia gave up just one hit and one run in the fifth and lost the tie in the sixth. Tennessee rallied for three runs and four hits in the sixth against Recchia and reliever Kevin Vance.

Addison Russell kicked off the rally with a single to left-center and Lars Anderson kept it rolling with a double to center. Recchia was pulled from the game after the double and the next batter was Villanueva who then brought in two with a single to center.

Villanueva’s RBI hit scored Russell and Anderson and was allowed by Vance. Vance allowed two inherited runners to score in the sixth and one other run as the Smokies took a 4-1 lead.

Mota hit a triple to right and Villanueva scored the fourth run of the game for Tennessee. Mota was 2-for-4 with a run batted in for the Smokies. Villanueva was 2-for-5 with a home run and two runs batted in. He also scored in the eighth after reaching on a double and scoring on a sacrifice fly from Luis Flores.

The Smokies led 4-1 after six and that is when Black would leave the game. The Tennessee starter allowed four hits over six full innings and gave up just one run.

Cervenka pitched the seventh and kept the Barons without a run in the inning. He started the eighth for Tennessee, but would allow two hits and left the game without recording an out in the eighth.

With Tennessee up 5-1, Castillo followed Cervenka in the eighth and walked the first batter he faced to load the bases with no outs in the inning. Castillo went on to walk another batter and the Barons would score again to cut the lead down to 5-2. After recording a couple of outs, and still while pitching with the bases loaded, Castillo gave up a three run triple to Michael Earley and the Barons tied the game 5-5.

Cervenka was given credit for a hold after pitching a scoreless seventh and leaving with the lead in the eighth. Castillo, however, was charged with a blown save after allowing two inherited runners and two others to score.

Birmingham went back to the bullpen for the seventh and brought in Bryan Blough. Blough stayed in through the eighth and left in the ninth. He allowed one run on three hits over two and 1/3 innings. Blough struck out three and walked one while quieting the Smokies offense.

The victory moved the Barons back into first place with three games remaining in their series with the Smokies. The series continues on Monday night with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 PM ET. The Smokies are scheduled to have right-hander Eduardo Figueroa (1-1, 4.06) on the mound for Monday’s game. Angel Sanchez (1-10, 6.56) is scheduled to start Monday’s game for the Barons.

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Categories: Game Recap

Author:Greg Young

Greg Young brings five years of Minor League Baseball experience to the Smokies Radio Network, having previously served with the High-A Modesto Nuts of the California League. He began with the Nuts as a Broadcast Assistant in 2007 before being promoted as the team's new Director of Broadcasting the following year, a position he held through the 2011 campaign. During his time with Modesto, Young also worked at KESP AM-790 as a Sports Anchor. Over the years he has worked as a broadcaster for Comcast Hometown Network and their coverage of the San Jose Giants (High-A, California League) and Fresno Grizzlies (Triple-A, Pacific Coast League), in addition to high school football and basketball. Young began his broadcasting career with the Major Indoor Soccer League's California Cougars in 2006 and was the club's inaugural broadcaster before being promoted to Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting the next year. Young is a 2005 graduate of Sacramento State University, earning a Communications degree with an emphasis in Digital Media. During his senior year, Young was Sports Director for the university's student-run radio radio station KSSU, and also did play-by-play for the school's baseball, football and basketball teams while attending Sacramento State.


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