'Birds score early to win

By Alex Wassel / Memphis Redbirds | April 22, 2009 1:47 PM ET

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Redbirds scored three runs on five hits the first time through the rotation on Wednesday to grab the 3-1 win over Nashville.

In the first inning, Nick Stavinoha doubled in Shane Robinson for his ninth run of the season, and was brought in to score on a David Freese single. Catcher Matt Pagnozzi hit a home run into right field in the second to put the 'Birds at 3-0.

"We got the guys to drive in some runs, and our pitching was outstanding and you know we showed up on the top of the board this time," Pagnozzi said.

The Redbirds were able to maintain their lead by the strong pitching of Brad Thompson, Charlie Manning, Royce Ring and Jess Todd. Thompson gave the team a solid start, picking up the win, fanning five and allowing one run over five innings. Manning and Ring came in to hold the two-run advantage, striking out a collective three batters and allowing three hits.

Redbirds closer Jess Todd came in with two outs and two runners on to deliver a strikeout to the Sounds clean-up hitter, Brendan Katin, to go to the bottom of the eighth. He followed that by fanning the first two batters in the ninth and pitching into a pop-up to center to end the game and earn the save.

"Jess came in and got a big out there in the eighth inning. Katin is a guy who has got a lot of power that we saw last year," Redbirds Manager Chris Maloney said. "He's been murdering lefty pitchers, so we brought Todd in to face him and Todd got him out...He had a 1-2-3 night, so he did a whale of a job."

The Sounds batters who found success Tuesday night were held quiet today. Mat Gamel, who had the third best batting average in the PCL coming into the series, went zero-for-three and struck out twice. Those that did produce for the Sounds were second baseman Adam Heether, who had the game-high three hits, and Tony Gwynn and Carlos Corporan each with two.

Wednesday's win over division rival Nashville gives the 'Birds a .5 game lead on the Sounds. The two meet again Thursday at 7:05 PM, with Blake Hawksworth scheduled to pitch for Memphis and Tim Dillard throwing for Nashville.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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