The Memphis Redbirds clinched the American Southern Division Championship with a 12-7 win over the Nashville Sounds in front of 7,905 fans at First Tennessee Park Sunday night.
The Redbirds have been in first place in the division for nearly all of the 2017 season and became the first team in the Pacific Coast League to punch a ticket to the playoffs.
Sunday's game went back and forth throughout the night as both teams lit up the scoreboard. Memphis put the first run on the board when Stephen Piscotty clubbed a double off the left field wall to score Alex Mejia.
It didn't take long for Nashville to respond as Renato Nunez launched his league-leading 31st homer of the season to left-center to even the game at 1-1 in the second. It didn't end there as Mark Canha tripled and Chris Carter singled to give the Sounds a 2-1 lead.
Memphis took the lead right back in the third as Mejia and Rangel Ravelo collected run-scoring hits against Nashville starter Chris Jensen.
Again, their lead didn't stick. The Sounds came back with three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 5-3 lead. Franklin Barreto, Joey Wendle, and Jaff Decker had doubles in the inning. Wendle's was his 100th in a Sounds uniform.
The Redbirds cut the deficit to 5-4 with a run in the fourth, and then scored three in the sixth to take the lead for good. Tyler O'Neill's solo homer evened the game at 5-5, and Patrick Wisdom's RBI double gave Memphis a 6-5 lead.
Memphis held a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the sixth when three straight hits by the Sounds made it a one-run game. Carter singled, but was cut down at the plate when he tried to score from first on Beau Taylor's double. Yairo Munoz picked up the team when he came through with a two-out infield single to score Taylor and make it 7-6.
Ravelo gave the Redbirds some breathing room when he drilled a solo homer off the right field foul pole. Mejia's fourth hit of the night brought in another run to give the Redbirds a 9-6 lead in the eighth.
Corey Walter was tagged with the loss after he allowed three runs in two relief innings. Every Sounds batter had at least one hit.
The series finale is scheduled for Monday night at First Tennessee Park. Right-hander Daniel Mengden (2-1, 2.21) starts for Nashville against right-hander John Gant (4-5, 4.24) for Memphis. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
The 2017 season is the Sounds' 40th in franchise history and their third as the Oakland Athletics' top affiliate. Single-game tickets are available now by calling (615) 690-4487 or by visiting www.nashvillesounds.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.