PENSACOLA, Fla., - Pensacola Blue Wahoos manager Pat Kelly sees the positive side of his team's matchup against the Chattanooga Lookouts.
The Blue Wahoos have taken three of the last five games from the Lookouts, although they lost Wednesday's game, 5-3, in front of 4,423 at Blue Wahoos Stadium. In the three head-to-head series, Pensacola is 3-11 against Chattanooga, which is the first half North Division champions and own the best record in the Southern League.
"Every game we play against Chattanooga is like this," Kelly said. "They seem to find the holes and we don't. We can play head-to-head with them. We beat them three of the last five times."
Pensacola left fielder Tyler Goeddel smoked a line drive over the left field wall to tie the score, 3-3, to lead off the seventh inning. It was his fifth homer of the season for the Blue Wahoos. Goeddel also played the hero in Tuesday's game, drilling a bases-loaded double to left field to propel Pensacola over Chattanooga.
But the Lookouts scored two runs in the top of the 12th inning when DH Andy Wilkins hit a line drive double down the left field line to score shortstop Nick Gordon to put Chattanooga up, 4-3. First baseman Jonathan Rodriguez then scored on a sacrifice fly by Max Murphy that made it a 5-3 game.
Pensacola dropped to 1-6 in extra-inning games and are 10-10 in the second half. The South Division champions in the first half are 50-40 overall. Meanwhile, Chattanooga improved to 15-5 in the second half and 57-33 overall.
Chattanooga went up, 3-2, in the fifth inning on a controversial call. The Lookouts started a two-out rally when second baseman Alex Perez hit a double on a fly ball down the left field line that was ruled a fair ball. Perez then scored when Gordon, the Minnesota Twins top prospect, singled to center field with two outs. Lookouts left fielder LaMonte Wade, the Twins No. 12 prospect, then hit a soft liner to left field that drove in both catcher Dan Rohlfing and Gordon.
Kelly said the call changed the momentum of the game. He also expressed dissatisfaction that the No. 9 hitter batting .141 followed with a walk.
"It didn't have to be a three-run inning," Kelly said.
Pensacola right fielder Gabriel Guerrero lead off the fourth inning with a double off the left field wall and then scored on a chopper by catcher Chad Tromp to make the score, 2-0. Chattanooga third baseman T.J. White looked Guerrero back to the bag and then threw to second baseman Alex Perez for a force out. Perez saw Guerrero sprinting home and threw it on the mark but Guerrero slid wide of the plate for the run. Guerrero was 2-6 with two doubles off the wall in left center field for his team-leading 26th multi-hit game of the year.
Pensacola scored in the first inning to go ahead, 1-0, when third baseman Nick Senzel smacked a two-out grounder up the middle to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. First baseman Gavin LaValley earned a walk and then Blue Wahoos left fielder Nick Longhi blasted a single to center field that drove in Senzel from second base.
Senzel, the Cincinnati Reds top prospect, was 3-6 with a run scored and now has five multi-hit games this season. He is hitting .318 for Pensacola since being called up June 22 from the High-A Daytona Tortugas.
Chattanooga right-hander Felix Jorge was starting in his first game back with the Lookouts after making two starts with the Minnesota Twins. Jorge, the Twins eighth-ranked prospect, made his Major League debut July 1 and earned the win.
Against Pensacola, he worked six innings, giving up two runs, one earned on five hits and three walks, while striking out three. He is 8-1 on the season with a 3.14 ERA.
Pensacola had a chance to win its third straight game against Chattanooga in the eighth when it loaded the bases with one out against Lookout relievers Raul Fernandez and Todd Van Steensel. The Blue Wahoos loaded the bases when catcher Chad Tromp was hit in the head with an 84-mph breaking ball, knocking him flat on his back.
But Aristides Aquino came in to pinch hit after that and struck out and then Goeddel hit a chopper to third base that allowed the Lookout's White to make the force out at second to end the scoring threat.
Kelly reported after the game that Tromp passed all the concussion tests but said he would probably hold him out of the next two or three games.
GAME NOTES The Pensacola Blue Wahoos play the first game of a five-game series against the Atlanta Braves Double-A affiliate Mississippi Braves at 6:35 p.m. Thursday. The Braves are starting RHP Mike Soroka (9-5, 2.55) against the Blue Wahoos RHP Keury Mella (2-6, 4.68).
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 Left fielder Tyler Goeddel was 1-6 with a game-tying solo homer to left field...Center fielder Gabriel Guerrero was 2-6 with two doubles of the left field wall and now leads the ballclub with 26 multi-hit games...Third baseman Nick Senzel was 3-6 and score a run and has a 12-game hitting streak...First baseman Gavin LaValley was 2-4 with a double and two walks.
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.