The Fresno Grizzlies (65-49) jumped out to another big lead early on Monday night in their visit to the Memphis Redbirds (71-43), but unlike Sunday's 5-0 lead which slipped away in an extra-inning loss, the Grizz kept the foot on the gas all the way to a 12-3 victory to take the first two of three in the series. Fresno smacked four home runs in the romp, accounting for all of their runs scored, and will go for a series win in this matchup of PCL heavyweights on Tuesday. The clubs currently hold the top two records on the circuit. Fresno improved to 32-26 on the road this season with the victory.
A pair of Grizz homers staked Fresno to a 5-0 lead in the third inning. Kyle Tucker (2-for-5) blasted his 15th of the season to right-center with Myles Straw (2-for-5) on base after a double, before Yordan Alvarez sent a laser down the line in right field for a three-run shot, following a Jack Mayfield (2-for-2) single and Taylor Jones walk. Alvarez has two homers in the series, and has six since his promotion to Triple-A on July 6 (24 games).
Fresno's home run derby continued in the fifth, when Tucker (single) and Mayfield (HBP) led off by reaching base, before AJ Reed (2-for-5) pulverized his 23rd home run of the season to right center, nearly out of AutoZone Park altogether (118 mph off the bat, traveled an estimated 415 feet). Reed's 72nd career homer with Fresno pulls him within seven of Damon Minor (79) for second on the franchise list, and after a three-RBI effort in Monday's game, the slugger has driven in six runs in two games, leading all of Triple-A with 90 RBI. Reed is back on track to break the single-season franchise record for RBI, on pace for 111 should he remain on Fresno's roster for the remainder of this season. Scott McClain drove in 108 runs for the 2008 Grizzlies. Reed has also hit safely in 11 of 12 games (15-for-48, .313).
In the sixth Mayfield jacked his second grand slam of the season and the second of the series for the Grizzlies (Alvarez in Saturday's win), and the score was 12-0. Mayfield's 12th homer of the year was his third-career slam with Fresno (6/15/16 at Sacramento and 4/7/18 at Reno). Monday's shot was a no-doubter to left field.
Fresno lefty Kent Emanuel (4-2), returning from the bullpen to make his first start since May 4 at home vs. Sacramento, was excellent in spot duty. The southpaw tossed five shutout innings with five strikeouts, allowing just one walk and one hit to consecutive batters with two out in the first inning, before being perfect for the rest of his outing. It was Emanuel's sixth start of the season, and Fresno is 5-1 in his starts. The Grizzlies chased Redbirds' starter Chris Ellis (3-4) after five frames, tagging him for eight (earned) runs on seven hits and a walk. The right-hander struck out seven.
Memphis broke up the shutout in the sixth, on a Rangel Ravelo RBI single. Ravelo drove in the Redbirds' second run in the eighth on a groundout. Randy Arozarena added an RBI single in the ninth to finish the scoring at 12-3.
The series finale is Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. CT / 4:35 PT, and will be the 28th and final game for the Grizzlies against the eastern half of the PCL (American Conference) this season (17-10). Probable starters are RHP Cy Sneed (9-6, 3.59) for Fresno and RHP Jake Woodford (3-2, 2.73) for Memphis. The Grizzlies are off Wednesday, before returning to action against Albuquerque at home on Thursday, the first of a four-game series and seven-game homestand.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.