Jackson, Tenn. -The Jackson Generals, the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, succumbed to the strong arms of Birmingham's Kyle Kubat and Connor Walsh on Monday, falling 2-0 at The Ballpark at Jackson.
Jackson (15-15) was shut out for only the second time in 2019, with Birmingham (12-19) taking the series-opening victory despite their failure to record an extra-base hit.
Jackson right-hander Riley Smith (1-3, 2.88 ERA) was the hard-luck loser in his second quality start of the year. Pitching without his best stuff, the 24-year-old allowed a trio of walks across the first two innings, including a lead-off walk to Gavin Sheets in the second. Sheets advanced from first to third on a soft dribbler to the left side of the infield by Trey Michalczewski, a play which forced an off-balance throw from Jackson shortstop Galli Cribbs Jr. toward first base. Cribbs' errant throw put men on the corners with nobody out, and Laz Rivera converted the chance with a run-scoring single to bring home Sheets for a 1-0 Birmingham lead.
Smith would keep Birmingham off the board the rest of the way, getting help from three groundball double plays turned by the Jackson infield. Smith finished with five strikeouts and a season-worst five walks, but he kept the Generals in the game by inducing 11 groundball outs and avoiding a big inning for Birmingham. Lucas Luetge entered in relief for the eighth and faced only three batters to complete the inning, but the ninth was harder.
A lead-off single from Ti'Quan Forbes in the ninth was followed by a pair of soft singles from Sheets and Michalczewski, with Michalczewski's flare touching down on the rim of the infield skin before skidding into left field. Forbes raced home from second base ahead of the throw from Jackson left fielder Ryan Grotjohn, giving the Barons some breathing room with a 2-0 lead. Jackson's pitchers are now 10-4 when holding the opponent under four runs.
Offensively, the Generals couldn't crack southpaw Kyle Kubat (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who kept Jackson guessing and popping up for much of the night. Kubat induced eight flyouts, made his second consecutive walk-free start of at least seven innings, and did not allow the lead-off hitter to reach in any inning except the sixth.
The Generals' best chance to score came when Cribbs was hit by the pitch to begin the sixth inning, and Ben DeLuzio pushed him to second base with a single. Jeffrey Baez grounded into a double-play that allowed Cribbs to advance to third base, but Jamie Westbrook struck out to end the frame. Connor Walsh (S, 1) got a two-inning save by striking out four of the seven men he faced. The Generals are now 0-6 when they record fewer than two extra-base hits: Dominic Miroglio's one-out double in the third inning was their only gapper on Monday.
NEXT GENERALS GAME
Tuesday, May 7 at 6:05 pm CT vs. Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox)
The Ballpark at Jackson - Jackson, Tenn.
RHP Bo Takahashi (2-2, 5.91 ERA) vs. RHP Jimmy Lambert (3-1, 2.94 ERA)
UP AND COMING AT THE BALLPARK:
May 6-10 vs. Birmingham Barons (AA, Chicago White Sox)
…featuring "All We Do Is Win" Night (Friday, May 10)!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.