PENSACOLA, Fla., - In his fourth game with Pensacola, Nick Longhi knocked a high, deep game-winning three-run home run in the sixth inning that gave the Pensacola Blue Wahoos a, 3-2, victory Monday over the Chattanooga Lookouts in front of 3,689 at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
The first baseman was happy to beat the Blue Wahoos nemesis. Pensacola, the first half South Division champions, are now 2-10 against Chattanooga, the first half North Division champions.
"I thought if it doesn't get out, something's wrong," Longhi said. "I'm pretty excited about it. It feels great to do that in a new environment."
Longhi came over from the Red Sox Double-A affiliate the Portland Sea Dogs where he had six homers, 33 RBIs and was hitting .262. He was ranked as the Red Sox's ninth best prospect according to MLBPipeline.com. For Double-A Pensacola, he has one home run six RBIs and is batting .273.
Blue Wahoos manager Pat Kelly is excited about the Reds picking up Longhi, who he said is fitting in. Longhi admitted, too, that his new teammates have welcomed him. Kelly said he knew Longhi would be a good addition, after hearing about him play in high school in Venice.
"Nick is athletic enough he can play both left or right field," Kelly said. "What a beautiful swing he's got. He has always been a really good hitter."
Besides Longhi's clutch homer, Pensacola's bullpen came through Monday. Blue Wahoos relievers Robert Stock, Carlos Gonzalez and Zack Weiss combined for five scoreless innings and didn't allow a hit to Chattanooga, putting just two Lookouts on base on walks. The trio struck out five.
Stock pitched three innings, allowing one walk and striking out four, and improved to 5-1 with a 2.79 ERA this season for Pensacola.
"To me the key to the game was Robert Stock," Kelly said, who also credited Gonzalez and Weiss. "That's a nice one-two punch."
Chattanooga threatened to tie the game in the eighth when shortstop Ryan Walker earned a leadoff walk, stole second base and reached third on a wild pitch with two outs. But Gonzalez struck out Andy Wilkins for his second K of the inning.
Pensacola started Rookie Davis, who made his second start for the Blue Wahoos after injuring his back and not playing for 47 days. The 24-year-old right hander, who started the season in the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation, didn't allow a hit to Chattanooga through the first three innings.
However, Lookouts first baseman Andy Wilkins ripped a line drive to right field for a double to lead off the fourth inning. Chattanooga third baseman T.J. White came up next and ended a 4-30 slump with a long home run to left center, his fifth of the year, giving the Lookouts a 2-0 lead.
Davis worked four innings, gave up two runs on two hits, walked three and struck out two, and threw 71 pitches. He is 0-0 with a 5.00 ERA for Pensacola.
"I thought he struggled a little bit," Kelly said of Davis, who is limited to 75 pitches by the organization. "He was battling himself which is part of the process of coming back."
Davis admitted he was happy to be back playing in Pensacola, but was more critical of his performance than Kelly.
"I felt like I was fighting myself the whole game," he said. "I know it's only my second game back and I have to be patient with myself. I'm more critical on myself than I should be but to get back to where I want to be, I have to be hard on myself."
For the Reds, Davis posted a 1-2 record with a 7.58 ERA in five starts and was sent down to the Triple-A Louisville Bats where he made two more starts before getting injured.
Amir Garrett, Sal Romano, Jackson Stephenson and Davis have all made their Major League debuts with the Reds this year after they all pitched in the Blue Wahoos starting rotation last year.
That comes as no surprise to Davis, who reported the 2016 Blue Wahoos rotation, including Nick Travieso, are good friends.
"It wasn't surprising at all," Davis said. "We knew it was just a matter of who would get there first. It was something we all knew was going to happen. A few of us thought it would happen last year. All camp, we were determined to make the club."
Meanwhile, Chattanooga starting pitcher Dereck Rodriguez earned his first loss in five starts in Double-A, falling to 3-1 on the year with a 3.77 ERA. Rodriguez is the son of former Major League catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who was elected to the Hall of Fame this year.
Pensacola improved to 9-9 in the second half in the South Division and 49-39 overall. The Lookouts fell to 14-4 in the second half in the North Division and 56-32 on the season.
GAME NOTES The Pensacola Blue Wahoos play the third game of a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins Double-A affiliate Chattanooga Lookouts at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday. The Lookouts are starting RHP Fernando Romero (7-6, 2.94) against the Blue Wahoos RHP Jose Lopez (3-1, 3.86).
The games are broadcast live on the Blue Wahoos flagship station 97.1 The Ticket. Listen for free at bluewahoos.com and by using the TuneIn Radio app on your mobile, desktop or home devices.
You can watch the home games live or tape delayed on Cox Sports Television Monday through Thursday on Channel 319. Friday, Saturday and Sunday games are broadcast live on BLAB-TV.
BIG FISH First baseman Nick Longhi crushed a game-winning three-run home run...Left fielder Josh VanMeter was 2-3 with his 20th double on the year and his 20th multi-hit game of the season...Third baseman Nick Senzel was 1-4 and scored a run and is hitting .304 for Pensacola.
Tickets to the second half of the season are on sale now! Purchase tickets online at bluewahoos.com, visiting the Box Office or calling 850-934-8444. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Southern League. Follow the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at BlueWahoos.com, facebook.com/PensacolaBlueWahoos and twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.