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Birmingham Picks Up First Win of 2022 in Chattanooga

April 14, 2022

The Barons (1-4) picked up their first win of the season with a 9-4 triumph over the Lookouts (2-3) in the second game of the series.

The Barons (1-4) picked up their first win of the season with a 9-4 triumph over the Lookouts (2-3) in the second game of the series.

Facing a 10-year MLB veteran and a one time All-Star in Mike Minor on a rehab start, Birmingham was not fazed. The first four batter reached base en route to a six-run first inning. Manager Justin Jirschele knew all this offense needed to wake up was one big inning.

“Coming into this season I knew what this offense was capable of,” Jirschele said. “I knew we had to get it going whether that’s off a big leaguer or a minor league guy, just a little confidence can go a long way.”

Minor only lasted 1.2 innings with all six runs charged to him, giving up five hits, a walk, and a strikeout. For reference, over the course of his major league career, Minor never allowed six runs in fewer than three innings.

Five of the runs came on long balls. After Yolbert Sanchez was hit by the second pitch of the game, Craig Dedelow took Minor deep for his second homer of the season. Lenyn Sosa contributed an RBI single before Luis Curbelo unleashed a fly ball over the right field fence to bring in three more runs.

“Hitting comes in groups, and it’s contagious. We saw that tonight,” Jirschele said. “Top to bottom. Everyone contributed tonight and it was a good showing from our offense, and good to get that first win.”

The first inning barrage gave starter Davis Martin plenty of wiggle room. The righty was unhittable early on, retiring the first eight batters he faced.

“Attacking hitters from the get go, continuing to put up zeroes for us, which was huge after that first inning,” Jirschele said. “He continues to pound the zone and go after guys.”

Martin finished with the win after five innings of one-run ball, five strikeouts, and only two hits. The lone run came off a leadoff homer by Matt McClain in the fourth inning. Maybe the most impressive stat from Martin’s outing was his pitch count. Just 53 pitches were needed to get his 15 outs.

The Lookouts made a late push at the end with a Matt Lloyd grand slam in the seventh inning and a ninth inning manufactured run on a fielder’s choice, but the early offense from Birmingham and the sustained offense throughout the game, like Tyler Neslony’s fifth inning home run, gave the Barons their first victory of the season.

Birmingham is back in Chattanooga tomorrow for a 6:15 CT first pitch. Eduardo Salazar gets the nod for the Lookouts. Newly signed Scott Blewett makes his Barons debut as the starter.