Todd Redmond tied a season high with nine strikeouts over eight innings as the Mississippi Braves edged the Birmingham Barons, 1-0, in Game 1 of their best-of-5 Southern League first-round series.
Redmond (1-0) earned Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher honors after going 13-5 with a 3.27 ERA during the regular season. In the playoff opener, he scattered five hits and did not issue a walk to win his fourth straight decision.
Luis Valdez, who finished second in the league with 28 saves, loaded the bases in the ninth before retiring Stefan Gartrell.
Mississippi scored in the ninth to end a marathon pitchers' duel. Kala Ka'aihue led off with a single, moved up on Jordan Schafer's sacrifice and came home on a base hit by Willie Cabrera.
Southern League All-Star Justin Cassel matched Redmond, limiting the Braves to one hit over eight innings while striking out seven and walking five. Kanekoa Texeira (0-1) allowed one run on two hits in the ninth.
Javier Castillo went 3-for-4 for Birmingham, which hosts Game 2 on Friday. Box score
In other Southern League action:
Carolina Mudcats 11, West Tenn Diamond Jaxx 2
SL Most Valuable Player Gaby Sanchez homered and drove in three runs, falling a triple shy of the cycle, as the Mudcats took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-5 semifinal series. Chris De La Cruz also had three RBIs for Carolina. Box score
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.