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Trash Pandas drop Slugfest with Smokies 12-8

MADISON – In a game filled with home runs from both sides, the Rocket Trash Pandas couldn’t finish the comeback in 12-8 loss to the Tennessee Smokies at Toyota Field in the second game of their six-game series at Toyota Field.

Rocket City began the ballgame in fine form as starter Aaron Hernandez set the Smokies down in order with a pair of strikeouts and a fly out in the top of the first. David MacKinnon got the scoring started in the bottom half with a three-run homer 393 feet to left for his eighth big fly of the season.

But the Smokies rallied for three runs, capped by an RBI single from Edwin Figuera, to tie the game in the second off Hernandez (L, 2-3). An inning later, two-run home runs from Brennen Davis and Christopher Morel gave the Smokies a 7-3 edge.

The Trash Pandas cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the frame. Brendon Davis and Orlando Martinez lined back-to-back doubles to plate the first run and Dalton Pompey looped a two-out single to center to score Martinez and make it a 7-5 game.

However, the Smokies pulled away in the fourth with Brennen Davis’ second home run of the game, a three-run shot down the left field line to put the Smokies into double digits off Hernandez.

Hernandez took the loss after giving up 10 runs, all earned, on seven hits with four walks over 4.0 innings. Kieran Lovegrove was first out of the bullpen for the Trash Pandas and pitched 2.0 scoreless. Adrian Almeida pitched 2.0 clean innings of his own to keep the Smokies at 10 runs.

Rocket City fought back late, as a solo homer from Brendon Davis in the seventh and a two-run shot from Torii Hunter Jr. in the eighth made it a two-run game at 10-8. Brendon Davis returned to the plate as the tying run in the eighth and nearly tied the game. But his fly ball fell just short and was caught on the warning track to end the inning.

Tennessee scored two more runs off Connor Higgins in the ninth to put the game away for good.

In his second game with Rocket City, Brendon Davis went 3-for-5 with a single, double, home run, and three runs scored. He has homered in both games since joining the Trash Pandas on July 20. Martinez and Hunter each added a pair of hits in the defeat. With three home runs, the Trash Pandas have now hit 101 for the season, becoming the first Double-A team to pass 100 on the year.

Morel and Brennen Davis each hit two home runs for Tennessee in the win.

The Trash Pandas (32-34) continue their series with the Tennessee Smokies (28-36) on Thursday night. First pitch at Toyota Field is set for 6:35 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio. The game will also be televised locally on WAAY-31.6, This TV.

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