PENSACOLA, Fla., - The Pensacola Blue Wahoos jumped out to a 4-0 lead Monday and starting pitcher Jose Lopez cruised through six scoreless innings.
Then the seventh inning happened. The Mobile BayBears sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on seven hits and one walk to take a 7-4 lead. But in the bottom of the inning, Pensacola sent 10 batters up to bat and scored five runs on three hits, three walks and a hit batter to go back on top, 9-7.
Both sides used three pitchers as an avalanche of runs crossed the plate in the seventh inning.
The Blue Wahoos held on to defeat the first place BayBears, 9-7, at Blue Wahoos Stadium, although it looked like Mobile would come from behind again. Mobile rallied in all three of its wins in the five-game series, including two victories in the ninth.
Pensacola manager Pat Kelly described the 12-run seventh inning as "pretty wild."
"You had two very tired bullpens in a long series with a lot of hitting," Kelly said.
For the series, Pensacola had 12 homers, which is a franchise record. It's five home runs Sunday tied a franchise record. In all, Pensacola scored 37 runs or 7.4 runs per game. Mobile scored 30. Not too shabby for a Blue Wahoos team that has struggled to hit and score runs all season.
"We're swinging the bats great. I'm very pleased," Kelly said. "Your physics professors said the ball travels better in humid weather. I never would have believed it. I think we saw it this series."
Pensacola second baseman Alberti Chavez came up with the clutch hit Monday smacking a two-out bases loaded single to left field to score right fielder Aristides Aquino and catcher Chad Tromp with the game-winning runs that made the score, 9-7.
Blue Wahoos DH Gavin LaValley singled to drive in the first run of the inning and scored on first baseman Brian O'Grady's sacrifice fly to the wall in right field to tie up the game, 7-7. LaValley went 2-5 with three RBIs.
"We had to battle the whole series," LaValley said. "A couple of things didn't go our way (in the seventh inning) but we didn't let it get us down."
He praised Chavez coming through for the team that improved Pensacola's record in the second half to 23-27 just three games behind front-runner Mobile at 26-24. The victory also meant the two rivals ended up, 10-10, head-to-head this year.
"He's the man (Chavez). He's awesome. I love that guy," the 22-year-old LaValley said. "He doesn't get to play a lot but he takes advantage when he does get in."
Lopez, named the Southern League pitcher of the week for a seven-inning complete game shutout victory over the Tennessee Smokies in his last start, increased his scoreless inning streak to 21 innings Monday against Mobile.
Lopez pitched 6.1 innings, and allowed the first two runs in the seventh to Mobile. Lopez gave up four hits, walked three and struck out five. The 23-year-old righty retired 14 of 15 Mobile batters he faced between the first and sixth innings.
"It's unfortunate we didn't get him the win," Kelly said of Lopez, who is 7-1 on the season with a 2.46 ERA. "He pitched super."
Pensacola center fielder Jonathan Reynoso hit a bomb just inside the top of the left field foul pole for his first Double-A home run of his career for a 4-0 lead. It also extended the Blue Wahoos franchise record to 12 homers in a series.
With just two position players on the Pensacola bench, Reynoso got hit by a pitch in his left wrist and fell to the ground in pain in the seventh inning. However, he finished the game on defense.
Pensacola scored first when LaValley ripped a double into the right field corner driving in both left fielder Gabriel Guerrero and third baseman Nick Senzel to put the Blue Wahoos ahead, 2-0. Catcher Chad Tromp poked a bloop single into left field that brought LaValley in for a 3-0 Pensacola lead.
GAME NOTES The Pensacola Blue Wahoos travel to play a five-game series against the Atlanta Braves Double-A affiliate Mississippi Braves at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The M-Braves are starting LHP Koby Allard (6-10, 3.50) against the Blue Wahoos RHP Deck McGuire (9-8, 2.61).
Because Pensacola scored five runs Monday, all online orders from Papa John's are 50 percent off with the pass code WAHOOS.
The games are broadcast live on the Blue Wahoos flagship station 97.1 The Ticket. Listen for free at bluewahoos.com and by using the TuneIn Radio app on your mobile, desktop or home devices.
You can watch the home games live or tape delayed on Cox Sports Television Monday through Thursday on Channel 319. Friday, Saturday and Sunday games are broadcast live on BLAB-TV.
BIG FISH Second baseman Alberti Chavez was 1-4 and singled to left to drive in two runs to win the game...Center fielder Jonathan Reynoso was 1-3 and crushed his first Double-A homer to left field...First baseman Gavin LaValley was 2-5 with a double, scored twice and knocked in three RBIs...Catcher Chad Tromp was 3-3 with a walk, double and two RBIs...Left fielder Gabriel Guerrero was 3-5 with two runs scored and has 35 multi-hit games and has had three hits eight times.
Tickets to the 2017 playoffs are now on sale! Purchase tickets online at bluewahoos.com, visiting the Box Office or calling 850-934-8444. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Southern League. Follow the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at BlueWahoos.com, facebook.com/PensacolaBlueWahoos and twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.