Mather leads Memphis to win

Redbirds notch first victory of the year

By Steve Selby / Memphis Redbirds | April 5, 2008 10:41 AM ET

Oklahoma City, OK - After letting an early 4-0 lead get away, the Redbirds bounced back with two runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth inning to beat Oklahoma 10-6 for their first win of the season.

Memphis used the long ball in picking up a rare win at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. Brian Barden broke a 5-5 deadlock in the seventh inning with home run off Elizardo Ramirez (0-1) to center field. The 'Birds tacked on another run in the inning thanks to Ryan Roberts' third error of the night. His error allowed Joe Mather to score the second run of the inning. Mather reached when he was hit by Ramirez's first pitch after Barden's blast. Plate umpire Jake Uhlenhopp immediately issued a warning to both dugouts.

The Redbirds then jumped on left-handed reliever Bill White in the eighth inning to put the game on ice. Gabe Johnson singled and Barden drew a walk. Mather exacted a little revenge of his own by taking White deep to left field for a three-run homer and a 10-5 advantage.

Oklahoma closed out the scoring in the bottom of the ninth inning when Chris Shelton hit a towering home run to left-center field off Chris Perez.

RedHawks starter A.J. Murray wishes you could take a mulligan in the game of baseball. Four runs and fifty-one pitches in the first inning will do that to a pitcher.

On Murray's behalf, all four, first-inning runs were unearned. The game began with Colby Rasmus, Brian Barden and Joe Mather each picking up singles to load the bases. Josh Phelps followed with a ground ball to third baseman Ryan Roberts. Roberts quickly stepped on the bag and then got greedy and tried to nail Rasmus at the plate. Instead, his wild throw ended up in the Memphis dugout allowing Rasmus and Mather to score. The rally continued as Amaury Marti picked up a base hit. Murray battled back and struck out David Freese. Nick Stavinoha delivered a clutch two-out RBI-single scoring Phelps. Then Murray lost his control as he walked Jarrett Hoffpauir and Gabe Johnson back-to-back, forcing in Marti to complete the four-run inning.

Oklahoma bounced back in the bottom of the first inning reaching Redbirds starter Joe Rogers for a pair of runs. Former Detroit Tiger first baseman Chris Shelton delivered a two-run double to the right-center field gap cutting the deficit to 4-2.

The Redbirds got one of those runs back in the second inning, once again cashing in on a Roberts error. Joe Mather reached safely when Roberts misplayed a ball hit down the third base line. The ball trickled down the left field line allowing Mather to reach second base. Marti cashed in the error with a two-out double to right field for a 5-2 lead.

The RedHawks pulled within a run on a pair of solo home runs. Casey Benjamin hit an opposite field homer into the right field bleachers and Jarrod Saltalamacchia took an 0-2 pitch over those same bleachers to pull Oklahoma within 5-4.

Meanwhile, Rogers had settled down by retiring seven batters in a row heading into the sixth inning. Part of that stretch included striking out the side in the fourth inning. Kevin Mench snapped that streak with a lead-off double. He advanced to third on Saltalamacchia's deep fly ball to center field. Rogers was pulled in favor of Mark Worrell. Shelton greeted him with a sacrifice fly to center, evening the game at 5-5. Worrell (1-0) picked up the win when the Redbirds grabbed the lead for good in the seventh inning.

Barden, Mather and Marti led a 15-hit attack with Mather scoring four runs.

Notes: The Redbirds allowed three solo home runs Friday night...Josh Phelps was the only Redbird in the lineup without a hit.

Saturday night's Probables:
Memphis - RHP Blake Hawksworth
Oklahoma - RHP Doug Mathis

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

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