A strong offensive effort wasn't enough to compensate for the Baby Cakes' continued bullpen woes as the Round Rock Express rallied to a 9-6 win in 10 innings on Sunday afternoon.
New Orleans held a 4-3 lead entering the seventh, but surrendered a run in each of the final three frames to force extras, and a three-run bomb to designated hitter Yordan Alvarez in the 10th inning, his fourth homer of the series. Tommy Eveld (0-1) worked the ninth and 10th and gave up a pair of home runs, the other to shortstop Alex De Goti with two outs in the ninth. Eveld has allowed a home run in all three innings he's pitched this season, headlining the team's relief struggles.
The New Orleans bullpen has allowed 12 runs - 11 earned - in 9 1/3 innings through the first four games while serving up seven home runs. The staff has surrendered 11 homers in total, five more than any other Pacific Coast League club.
Jeff Brigham and Brian Moran each allowed a run in their inning of relief, with Moran's coming off another home run, by Taylor Jones.
Joe Gunkel became the fourth Baby Cakes starter in a row to allow fewer than three earned runs, as the right-hander struck out five in his six innings, walking a pair and allowing a solo home run to Express catcher Jamie Ritchie in the third.
The lineup gave its arms the best run support of the young season, scoring six times through the first seven frames. Isaac Galloway hit his first home run of the season and drew a walk en route to scoring three times, and added his club-record 72nd career stolen base as a Baby Cake. Deven Marrero and Austin Dean both recorded multi-hit games, with Dean tallying three RBI, two of which came on a bases-loaded single in the seventh to snap a 4-4 tie.
But New Orleans had additional opportunities that weren't capitalized upon. Baby Cakes hitters struck out 14 times, including eight from the heart of the order. They struggled to convert on scoring chances, going 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and are hitting .139 in those spots through four games.
The five-game series with Round Rock concludes with a Monday morning rubber match between right-handers Ben Meyer and Rogelio Armenteros. First pitch will be at 11 a.m. Following the completion of the game, the Baby Cakes fly to Iowa to begin a seven-game road trip against the Cubs and Omaha Storm Chasers.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.