Birmingham's middle and late inning run binge leads to a 14-5 win over the Tennessee Smokies
Pregame: Tennessee Smokies (42-36) vs Birmingham Barons (35-43)
Coming into tonight's game (July 8, 2022/7:05pm CST first pitch), the Tennessee Smokies (AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) and Birmingham Barons (AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) continue their version of the Windy City Rivalry.
The Smokies (42-36, 6 GB in the Southern League North Division) are 5-4 to kick off the 2nd half of the season (winning 3 in a row). The starting lineup is led by Matt Mervis (.312 batting average with 13 home runs and 44 runs batted in), Jake Slaughter (.324 BA with 10 HR, 25 RBI's, and 11 stolen bases), and 40-man roster member Alexander Canario (.227 BA with 11 HR and 31 RBI's). Starter Ryan Jenson (0-2, 5.20 ERA) takes the hill (pitcher's mound) and is focused on limiting Birmingham's offense.
The Barons (35-43, 13 GB in the Southern League North Division) are looking to snap their 4-game losing streak. Garrett Davila (3-1, 4.97 ERA) looks to contain the Tennessee offense. Leadoff batter D.J. Burt (.292 BA with 14 RBI's and 23 SB's), Yasmani Grandal (who is batting .333 during his rehab assignment), Jose Rodriguez (.273 BA with 40 RBI's and 25 SB's), and Yoelqui Cespedes (.253 BA with 9 HR, 31 RBI's, and 10 SB's) look to set the tone for the offense.
During pregame, D.J. Burt takes time to speak with us. The Raleigh, NC area native expands on his individual growth, team chemistry, along with insight to share with players across the board (the complete interview is provided below):
Game recap: the Birmingham Barons (36-43) defeat the Tennessee Smokies (42-37) by a 14-5 score
The Smokies would strike first; in the top of the 3rd inning, Luis Vazquez would drive in a run, and Jake Slaughter's 2-out RBI gives them a 2-0 lead. The Barons would nearly make a move in the bottom of the 3rd inning, as they have the bases loaded with one out. Savvy pitching by starter Ryan Jenson would prevent Birmingham from scoring.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, Luis Curbelo and D.J. Burt get on base to set the stage for Yasmani Grandal. His 3-run blast to left field gives Birmingham a 3-2 lead, chasing Jenson (4.1 innings pitched, allowing 3 runs [all earned] on 4 hits along with 4 strikeouts and 3 walks) from the game.
The Barons would add to their lead in the bottom of the 6th inning thanks to Luis Curbelo's 3-run home run (his 4th of the season). This pushes Birmingham's lead to 6-2.
Curbelo would add a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th to give the Barons an 8-2 lead.
However, the 8th inning barrage would not stop there.
Craig Dedelow adds a 3-run blast to deep right field (his 15th of the season) to increase Birmingham's lead to 11-2. A fielding miscue by Smokies' centerfielder Alexander Canario on Moises Castillo's fly-ball leads to another run for the Barons. Yoelqui Cespedes and Ivan Gonzalez would get RBI's as well; in batting around, the Barons would pummel the Smokies for 8 runs (in the inning).
Tennessee would score 3 in the top of the 9th (their first runs since their 2-run 3rd inning), but Edgar Navarro would close out the game with a strikeout to given Birmingham a 14-5 win.
The Barons' Luis Curbelo (3 for 5 with 2 HR's and 5 RBI's), Yasmani Grandal (2 for 3 with 1 HR and 3 RBI's), and Craig Dedelow (1 for 5 with 1 HR and 3 RBI's) would lead the offense's 14 hit attack, including all 14 runs coming in the 5th inning and beyond (3 in the 5th, 3 in the 6th, and 8 in the 8th innings). After surviving a shaky 2nd inning, starter Garrett Davila (5.2 innings pitched, allowing 2 earned runs on 4 hits, along with 5 strikeouts and 1 walk) would earn his 4th win of the season.
The Smokies' 3 errors play a role in tonight's loss. Bradlee Beesley goes 1 for 4 with 2 RBI's. Dalton Stambaugh takes the brunt of the offensive push of the Barons (allowing 10 runs/9 earned along with 8 hits, including 3 home runs allowed). Ryan Jensen is saddled with the loss (4.1 IP allowing 3 earned runs on 4 hits, with 4 strikeouts and 3 walks).
Play resumes on July 9th at 7:05pm CST (click HERE for the box score).
Notes: All photos and video recorded by Andrew Snorton
Video information: The first video is the full pregame interview with D.J. Burt of the Birmingham Barons. The second is a snapshot of game action featuring both teams.
Photo information: The top row (left to right) includes the dedication acknowledging the Negro Leagues and a view from the press box at Regions Field. The next row from the top (left to right) features D.J. Burt (of the Barons, our pregame interviewee who goes 1 for 4) and starting battery mates Garrett Davilla (who goes 5.2 IP for the win) and Ivan Gonzalez (who goes 2 for 4 with 1 RBI). The second row from the top (left to right) includes the Smokies' Bradlee Beesley (who goes 1 for 4 with 2 RBI's) and the Barons' Luis Curbelo (who would spend a lot of time on the basepaths with his 3 for 5 effort resulting in 2 HR's and 5 RBI's). The middle row highlights Birmingham's Yoeiqui Cespedes (who goes 2 for 5 with a RBI) and one of the Barons' coaches running to second base to catch up with Jose Rodriquez (who hustles for a double). The next to last row sports the Barons' Yasmani Grandal (while on his rehab assignment via the White Sox, goes 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 RBI's) and Craig Dedelow (whose 3-run home run is part of the 8-run 8th inning which puts the game out of reach). The bottom row includes the Barons' D.J. Burt and Moises Castillo as the team would score all its run from the 5th inning and beyond.