MEMPHIS, TN - A five-hit performance from Shane Robinson wasn't enough as the Memphis Redbirds dropped their season opener to Oklahoma City (1-0), 8-7 Thursday night at AutoZone Park in front of 6,756.
Memphis (0-1) starter P.J. Walters struggled with his command allowing five earned runs on six hits in four innings of work with two walks while hitting two. "P.J. just didn't have it tonight" said fifth-year Manager Chris Maloney.
Despite falling behind 8-3 heading into the bottom half of the eighth Memphis grinded out three runs in the eighth and scored one more in the ninth off closer Jose Valdez. Robinson singled in Adron Chambers with two outs in the ninth to cut the deficit to one. That was all the closer would allow as he retired the potential winning runner, Matt Carpenter on a ground ball to end the game. "We kept battling with the bats....we played it all the way to the end" said Maloney.
The five hit performance from Robinson set a career-high which included a double and three RBI along with two runs. "I was seeing the ball pretty well and my swing feels pretty good, getting that first one (hit) out of the way builds your confidence" said Robinson. "He had a monster night, he was doing it all tonight, he made some great plays in left" said Maloney when asked about Robinson's performance.
The 'Birds were playing from behind all night as Walters loaded the bases in the first after walking leadoff hitter J.B. Shuck followed by a base-hit from Anderson Hernandez and another walk to Brian Bogusevic. Koby Clemens singled in Shuck to put the RedHawks up 1-0. Catcher Carlos Corporan added the second run on a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Walters struck out Drew Lock and Tommy Manzella grounded out to end the inning.
The 'Birds answered with a run in the bottom half, with singles from Robinson and Carpenter. Mark Hamilton drew a one out walk to set up a sacrifice fly by Pete Kozma that plated Robinson narrowing the margin to 2-1 after one.
Oklahoma City added three more runs in the third after Walters allowed the first four batters to reach base including a two-run single by Drew Locke driving in Bogusevic and Clemens. Navarro pushed the score to 5-1 after a sacrifice fly that scored Corporan.
Memphis battled back with a pair of two-out hits in the fifth from Chambers and pinch-hitter Daryl Jones. Robinson connected on his third hit of the night narrowing the margin to two, 5-3.
RedHawks starter Jordan Lyles lasted only four innings after allowing seven hits and three earned runs giving away to Gustavo Chacin who recorded the win after one scoreless inning of relief.
Oklahoma City added two more in the sixth and one more in the seventh including a line-drive solo home run from Bogusevic that barley cleared the wall in left-center.
Seven different RedHawks recorded hits tonight as both teams posted 14 on the night.
The four-game series continues Friday at AutoZone park with Brandon Dickson taking the hill for Memphis and Sergio Perez for Oklahoma City with first pitched slated for 7:05 CT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.