ROUND ROCK, Texas - The Memphis Redbirds (42-27) clubbed three home runs in a 7-3 win over the Round Rock Express (34-36) on Sunday afternoon at Dell Diamond, evening the series at one game apiece.
Express starter RHP Eddie Gamboa (5-6, 6.49) suffered the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits in seven innings. The knuckleballer struck out four while walking just two. On the winning side, Memphis starter LHP Marco Gonzales (2-3, 2.97) limited Round Rock to just one run on five hits in six innings.
Memphis wasted no time jumping out to an early lead thanks to a solo Randal Grichuk home run in the top of the first inning. Express C Brett Hayes answered two innings later with a solo home run of his own in the bottom of the third.
A critical fielding error by Gamboa in the top of the fifth inning resulted in a three-run frame for the Redbirds. C Alberto Rosario opened the inning with a leadoff double before SS Wilfredo Tovar laid down a sacrifice bunt. Gamboa charged in on the slow roller, electing to throw to third base instead of first. The knuckleballer's toss went wide of 3B Will Middlebrooks , allowing Rosario to score while Tovar advanced all the way to third.
The inning continued as 2B Breyvic Valera poked a sacrifice fly into left field to bump his team's advantage to 3-1. Two hitters later, Grichuk stepped to the plate and launched his second homer of the game, a solo shot that crashed into the seating area in the left field Home Run Porch.
Express reliever RHP Joely Rodriguez made his Round Rock debut in the eighth inning. The righty was welcomed to Dell Diamond with a leadoff Harrison Bader home run that extended Memphis' lead to 5-1.
Rodriguez then walked the bases loaded to open the ninth before yielding for LHP Jimmy Reyes . RF Rangel Ravelo sent Reyes' first pitch into CF Drew Stubbs ' glove, leaving enough time for LF Todd Cunningham to tag and score from third. 3B Patrick Wisdom doubled home Gruchuk to stretch the Redbirds' lead to 7-1.
Round Rock tacked on one final run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Middlebrooks opened the frame with a single before 1B Ronald Guzman followed up with his second base hit of the day, an RBI double. DH A.J. Jimenez put runners on the corners with a single, then Hayes singled to score Guzman and cut the final score to 7-3.
The two American Southern Division foes face off again on Monday night. Memphis RHP Jack Flaherty (1-0, 2.50) is scheduled to start against a Round Rock pitcher yet to be announced. First pitch at Dell Diamond is set for 7:05 p.m.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.