Nashville defeats Iowa 6-3 in home stand opener before 8,091
The Nashville Sounds (10-7) won an exciting opening game-stand series against division rivals (and current leaders) Iowa Cubs (11-6) at Greer Stadium tonight on a beautiful night for baseball. Nashville had to come-from-behind to win. The final score was 6-3 as reliever Chris Smith got his first win of the 2009 season, having taken over for starter Mike Burns who pitched seven innings, giving up six hits and three runs.Burns struck out four and walked a batter. After settling down from the first inning when he gave up two runs, the former Iowa Cub (2008) pitched very well the next six innings. The Sounds gained a full-game on the Cub’s lead in the American North (PCL). Iowa’s Waddell (0-1) took the loss after coming in at the top of the 7th inning. Waddell pitched 1.2 innings giving up 3 hits in 3 runs.
Nashville is now 6-0 when they play an errorless ballgame and are 10-0 when leading after the 7th inning. The Sounds were 8 for 31 tonight. Iowa was 8 for 35. Two of the hottest hitters in the PCL faced off tonight and they did not disappoint: Jake Fox (.426) for Iowa and Mat Gamel (.397) for Nashville. Fox went 2-3, doubled, hit a home run (9), and had 2 RBIs. He scored once. Gamel was 1-2 with a homer and 2 RBIs. He walked twice and scored twice.
Here’s how the game went.
Iowa did not hesitate to put the bat to the ball when they came up for their first at-bat in the top of the first. They hit some hard balls against Nashville’s RHP Mike Burns. Spears hit a one-out single to center followed by a single to left by Deeds. Jake Fox then came to the plate and doubled to right, scoring Spears. Burns then got Snyder to ground out to first but Deeds scored. 2-0 Cubs. The Sounds gave no threat in the bottom of the first.
Until the bottom of the fifth, 3 and half innings later there was no run production. Several Sound’s batters had trouble hitting Ascanio’s breaking pitch tonight. He pitched four innings, giving up just two hits and no runs; striking out four and walking two.
In the bottom of the fifth though, the Sounds scored three runs to take the lead 3-2. With one out pitcher Mike Burns lined a single to center. The hard-to-strike-out Tony Gwynn drew a walk. Alcides Escobar flew out to right, two outs. Mat Gamel came to the plate and Estrada would not give him anything to hit. Gamel walked. The bases were loaded with Brendan Katin at the plate. He cleared the bases with a double to the left-field line (3 RBIs). 3-2 Sounds.
The Cubs wasted no time in their half of the sixth inning. Jake Fox led off the top of the 6th with a home run (9) blast to left field, striking the guitar scoreboard. Just like that the score was 3-3. The Cubs did not score the rest of the inning but Cub’s manager Bobby Dickerson was ejected by the home plate umpire contesting an automatic strike assigned to batter Andres Blanco.
Iowa went scoreless in the top of the 7th but the Sounds found some life. Jason Bourgeois, who had come in to play left field in the 7th, hit a stand-up double to center to lead off the Sound’s 7th inning. Gwynn executed a flawless sacrifice bunt and Bourgeois went to third. Alcides Escobar came to the plate and knocked in his teammate from 3rd with a single to center. That RBI proved to be the game-winning one. But the firewaorks were not over. Slugger Mat Gamel stepped to the plate against Waddell and blasted his 6th home run of the season, over the left field fence [WATCH].
It was 6-3 Sounds now.The Sounds were 9-0 when leading after seven. The game was now int he hands of Nashville’s reliever Chris Smith.
Sound’s reliever Chris Smith (1-0) came in to relieve Burns in the top of the 7th. He had the Cub-batters off their swing the three innings he worked. Smith only gave up one hit while striking out four. He did not walk anyone. He forced two Iowa batters to strike out swinging against his change-up in the 8th, and another one in the 9th.
Click here to see the photo gallery from tonight’s game.