Nashville, Tn.--Nashville Sounds (9-22) shortstop Blake Davis' sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh proved to be the difference in a 5-2 win over the Fresno Grizzlies (17-17) on Wednesday afternoon at Greer Stadium.
The game was tied at two going to into the seventh stanza, and then the Sounds got busy against Fresno left-handed starter Michael Kickham (0-4). Third baseman Stephen Parker started it with a single to right. Two batters later, catcher Anderson De La Rosa doubled to left-center, which placed runners at second and third. Then it was Davis who got behind with two strikes but lofted an opposite field fly ball to left to score Parker and make it 3-2 Nashville. The Sounds added an additional run in that inning on a double to right field by pinch hitter Hainley Statia, just his third hit in 41 ABs (.073) this year.
Kickham lasted 6 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits and four runs (three earned while striking out seven and not walking any batters. Kickham has at least five strikeouts in each of his last five starts.
The Grizzlies jumped on the board in the first inning off Sounds right-handed starter R.J. Seidel, who was making his Triple-A debut. Second baseman Kensuke Tanaka led off the game with a double, and several batters later scored on a single by first baseman Brett Pill. It was Pill's 37th RBI, which leads all of professional baseball.
Nashville would take the lead on a bizarre play in the bottom of the third inning. With runners at second and third and one out, center fielder Josh Prince bunted back to the mound. Kickham, while fielding the ball, slipped but tried throwing home from a seated position. However, his throw went past catcher Johnny Monell and allowed two runners to score.
The Grizzlies' other run came in the fourth when they tied the game on an RBI triple by right fielder Juan Perez.
The hero of the afternoon for Nashville was right-hander Jesus Sanchez, who followed Seidel. Sanchez worked three perfect innings with five strikeouts. Right-handers Mike Olmsted and Rob Wooten (5) also pitched shutout ball for Nashville with Wooten earning the save. Seidel worked four innings, giving up three hits, two runs (both earned), three walks, and struck out six.
Fresno batters struck out 14 times, which is the most for them this year. The teams combined to fan 25 times.
Game three of this scheduled four-game series will be Thursday night at Greer Stadium with a 5:05 PST first pitch. Right-hander Boof Bonser (1-2) will pitch for Fresno against Nashville right-hander Frankie De La Cruz (1-4).
Fresno manager Bob Mariano said that right-hander Justin Fitzgerald will be promoted from Double-A Richmond to start on Friday night. He will replace Yusmeiro Petit on the roster, who is on the disabled list after the pitcher strained an oblique muscle last Sunday in a home start against Colorado Springs. Fitzgerald, who went to UC-Davis, is 3-0 in six starts this season with a 1.06 ERA. It will be his first time at Triple-A.
The Grizzlies are 3-3 in day games this year.