ROUND ROCK, Texas - Memphis surged to an early lead but saw Round Rock score five unanswered runs and walk-off a 5-4 winner in the first game of the doubleheader at the Dell Diamond on Monday night.
Carlos Martinez, who was optioned back to Memphis on Friday, made his first start in a Redbirds uniform since August of 2013. The hard-throwing right-hander threw 4.1 innings without allowing a run. The Express managed three hits off him, fanning four times and walking once. Unfortunately for Martinez, he failed to make it out of the fifth and took a no-decision.
The Redbirds offense struck first for the fourth straight game in the series, pounding out four runs in the opening frame for the second consecutive game. Tommy Pham led off with a single and Stephen Piscotty followed with the same two batters later. After the pair successfully executed a double steal, Scott Moore stepped in and drove them both in with an opposite field home run.
The lead expanded when Audry Perez and launched a solo home run in the next at-bat. It was the first time the 'Birds had gone back-to-back this season, giving Moore his 14th longball of the year and Perez his 4th on the season. With four totals hits in the inning, the advantage was 4-0.
Round Rock finally broke through off reliever Jorge Rondon in the sixth. Rondon had worked his way out of a jam Martinez had gotten into during the fifth inning, but could not repeat that success in the next frame. Tommy Telis and Geovany Soto hit back-to-back RBI doubles and cut the Redbirds lead in half at 4-2.
The two-run lead was not enough Eric Fornataro either, who surrendered two runs and blew the save for the second straight night. Jared Hoying highlighted the two-run seventh with a run-scoring single up the middle to even things at 4-4.
The Express rode their offensive momentum into the 8th when Soto unloaded a ball that landed over the right field wall for a walk-off home run. It was the catcher's first homer of the season and it handed left-hander Pedro Feliciano his fifth loss in 2014.
Memphis threatened in several innings, but was just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left a runner standing at third to end an inning on two separate occasions. It was their first defeat in a doubleheader game since June 18 when they fell 9-8 at Salt Lake.