4 in a row: the Gwinnett Stripers' 7-run 4th inning propels them to an 8-4 win over Memphis
Pregame: Memphis Redbirds (58-53, 8 GB in the International League West) vs Gwinnett Stripers (54-58, 12.5 GB in the International League West)
Today's (August 17, 2022) game between the Memphis Redbirds (the AAA affiliate of the St Louis Cardinals) and the Gwinnett Stripers (the AAA affiliate of the 2021 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves) is the second of a 6-game series. Both teams are making their push for possible postseason play during the "Dog days of Summer" leading into the final month (September).
While the Redbirds come in 8 games out of first place in the International League West Division, they are 4-6 over their last 10 games and dropped the series opener (4-3). Left-hander Connor Thomas (6-5 with a 4.32 ERA) starts tonight for Memphis as he hopes to contain the Stripers' offense. Alex Burleson (.326 batting average with 20 home runs and 76 runs batted in), Conner Capel (.248 BA with 10 HR and 29 RBI's along with 17 stolen bases), and Luken Baker (.237 BA with 20 HR and 59 RBI's) look to provide a challenge to Gwinnett's pitching and defense.
As for the Stripers, they come into tonight's division tilt 12.5 games out of first place, but they are riding a 3 game winning streak and look to add to it behind starting pitcher Huascar Ynoa (5-6 with a 5.94 ERA). Delino DeShields, Jr. (.232 BA with 26 SB's), Pat Valaika (.251 BA with 10 HR and 46 RBI's), and Ryan Casteel (.232 BA with 12 HR and 33 RBI's) look to get the offense off to a fast start and sustained effort.
As part of our pregame coverage, starting outfielder Alex Dickerson (.246 BA with 8 HR and 34 RBI's) joins us. He not only shares his professional journey (having played in the Major Leagues), but his season and his focus on individual fine-tuning of his game, as well as team chemistry:
Recap: the Gwinnet Stripers (55-58) defeat the Memphis Redbirds (58-54) by an 8-4 score
The Redbirds would take an early 1-0 in the top of the 1st inning as Moises Gomez' RBI double applies early pressure on Stripers' starter Huascar Ynoa. The Stripers would respond in the bottom half of the inning thanks to Pat Valaika's RBI (to tie the game at 1). Gwinnett would add another run in the bottom of the 2nd to take a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, Gwinnett would get to Connor Thomas, as the Memphis starter is not ready for the Stripers' offensive barrage.
Ryan Casteel's 13th home run of the season to deep left field gives Gwinnett a 3-1 lead, as that is merely the starting point of the inning. Additional RBI's and key hits by Delino DeShields, Jr., Pat Valaika, and Hernan Perez result in a 5 run inning, giving the Stripers a 7-1 advantage.
Ivan Herrera's RBI single in the top of the 5th inning would get Memphis within 5 runs (7-2).
Hernan Perez would drive in his 4th run of the game in the bottom of the 6th to give the Stripers an 8-2 lead.
In the top of the 7th, the Redbirds' Moises Gomez would score on a fielder's choice/throwing error to make it an 8-3 ballgame. Alec Burleson would add a sacrifice fly in the top of the 8th to make it an 8-4 game, but would get no closer, as Gwinnett wins their 4th game in a row (and the first 2 games of the series).
The Stripers' Hernan Perez (2 for 3 with 4 RBI's), Pat Valaika (2 for 4 with 2 RBI's), and Delino DeShields, Jr. (3 for 4 with 1 RBI and a stolen base, his 27th of the season) lead the offense. Connor Johnstone gets the win and improves to 3-2 on the season (1.2 innings pitched, allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 1 strikeout) as starter Huascar Ynoa goes 3 innings (allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 3 strikeouts and 3 walks - however, he throws 71 pitches during his start).
The Redbirds' Connor Thomas drops to 6-6 on the season; he lasts 4 innings, allowing 7 runs on 10 hits with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks. On offense, Alec Burleson, Moises Gomez, and Ivan Herrera (who goes 3 for 5) drive in 1 run apiece (click HERE for the complete box score).
The series resumes tomorrow (August 18th) and concludes on Sunday, August 21st.
Notes: All photos and video recorded by Andrew Snorton.
Video: The first video is the full pregame interview with Alex Dickerson (Gwinnett Stripers). The second video is a compilation of snapshots of in-game action during the first 5 innings of the ballgame.
Photos: The top row (left to right) includes the managers for both teams exchanging their lineup cards, Chopper (the Stripers' mascot) working with the team's photographer, and player for the Stripers getting ready for the game. The first row from the top shows Stripers' starter Huascar Ynoa, the Redbirds' Scott Hurst (who would score the game's first run), and Memphis starter Connor Thomas. The first row from the bottom includes Gwinnett's Delineo DeShields, Jr., Tyler White, and Hernan Perez (who would have 4 RBI's) at the plate. The bottom row shows Ryan Casteel (right) making his way to the dugout after hitting his 13th home run of the season (to add to Gwinnett's lead), Memphis' Luken Baker a the plate, and Gwinnett's Connor Johnstone making his way to the dugout after reliving starter Huascar Ynoa.