Oklahoma City, OK - Thursday night was Opening Night as the Redbirds took on the Oklahoma RedHawks at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. New year, same result as they dropped a 4-3 decision in 10 innings.
Since the opening of the stadium known as the Brick, the Redbirds had posted a record of 27-52, many of those losses coming in walk-off fashion. Last night, it was Ryan Roberts who picked up the game-winner for Oklahoma, but not without some controversy. Roberts came to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning with runners at first and second and two outs facing former RedHawks right-hander Kelvin Jimenez. He singled sharply to center field. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was waved home by manager Bobby Jones. That's when Colby Rasmus displayed his defensive prowess. Charging the ball aggressively, Rasmus came up firing and threw a bullet to catcher Mark Johnson, who applied the tag to a sliding Saltalamacchia. Plate umpire Mike Muchlinski pointed down at the plate and hesitated before finally calling the runner safe. 'Birds manager Chris Maloney sprinted to the plate to argue the call to no avail.
Kea Kometani (1-0) picked up the win for Oklahoma with one inning of scoreless relief. Jimenez (0-1) worked one inning for the Redbirds.
The most asked question this spring concerning the Memphis Redbirds was, "How long do you think you'll get to keep Colby Rasmus?" Based on the 21-year-old's 2008 debut, the answer might be, "Not long." Rasmus hit Eric Hurley's first pitch of the game off the top of the right field wall for a double. The Cardinals top prospect followed with a pair of singles in his next two at-bats before finishing the night 3-for-5.
Josh Phelps single to left in the first inning scored Rasmus for the early 1-0 lead, but the Redbirds missed a golden opportunity to add more to the total. With runnners at second and third and just one out, Hurley fanned Amaury Marti before getting David Freese to fly out to center field to end the inning.
Amaury Marti made it 3-0 Redbirds in the third inning when he lined a hanging slider into the right field bullpen for a two-run homer. RedHawks pitchers would blank the Redbirds over the next seven innings on just four hits.
Oklahoma tied the game with a three-run fifth inning. Memphis starter Mike Parisi had sailed through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. Kevin Mench's grounder with the bases loaded got the RedHawks on the board and Nate Gold delivered a two out, two-run single to tie the game. The hit also chased Parisi from the game. Both bullpens took over from there until Roberts' heroics in the tenth inning.
NOTES: The Redbirds opening road trip in 2006 resulted in an 0-8 record. Last season, the 'Birds went 1-7. Including Thursday's loss, they are now 1-16 to start their road schedule.
Friday night's Probables:
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.