Home runs sink Trash Pandas in 4-2 loss
KODAK, Tennessee – The Rocket City Trash Pandas offense was held silent for most of the night, and a quality start from Brett Kerry was not enough in a 4-2 loss to the Tennessee Smokies on Thursday night at Smokies Stadium.
In the top of the second, the Trash Pandas opened the scoring when Zach Humphreys reached on a one-out walk from Tennessee starter Riley Thompson. A fielder’s choice from Kevin Maitan put him at first as Humphreys was thrown out at second. Torii Hunter Jr. followed with a two-out walk to keep the inning alive. In his first Double-A at-bat, Trash Pandas right fielder Jordyn Adams laced a single to center, scoring Maitan with the first run of the night.
Tennessee got the run back in the bottom of the inning when former Los Angeles Angels farmhand Harrison Wenson launched a solo home run to left to tie the game against Trash Pandas starter Brett Kerry (L, 2-4).
Smokies reliever Dalton Stambaugh (W, 5-2) and Kerry traded zeroes for the next two and a half innings. But in the bottom of the fifth, two decisive swings would put the Smokies ahead for good. Luis Vazquez and Yonathan Perlaza connected on back-to-back one-out home runs off Kerry, giving Tennessee a 3-1 advantage after five.
Kerry ended his night on the mound by working around a hit-by-pitch in a scoreless sixth. Over six innings Kerry gave up three runs, all on solo home runs, allowing five hits while walking two and striking out five to suffer the loss.
Tennessee added one more in the seventh on Yonathan Perlaza’s RBI double against Trash Pandas reliever Jack Dashwood. The Trash Pandas made a comeback bid in the eighth with a single from Preston Palmeiro and three straight two-out walks from Braxton Martinez, Humphreys, and Maitan to plate a second run. With the tying and go-ahead runs on base, Hunter Jr. worked a full count before grounding out against Smokies reliever Max Bain to end the inning with Tennessee ahead 4-2.
Sean McLaughlin held the deficit at two with a scoreless bottom of the eighth. But Rocket City was unable to mount a comeback off Tennessee closer C.D. Pelham in the ninth, falling for the second time in three days in Tennessee, with all three games being within two runs.
At the plate, Adams went 2-for-4 with an RBI scored in his Double-A debut while Palmeiro also went 2-for-4 in the defeat.
Stambaugh earned the win with five scoreless relief innings for the Smokies while Pelham picked up his first save of the season with the scoreless ninth.
The first-half North Division Champion Trash Pandas (42-30 overall, 1-2 second half) continue their series with the Smokies (39-33 overall, 2-1 second half) on Friday night. First pitch at Smokies Stadium is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio.