PEARL, Miss. - Vladimir Gutierrez (W, 3-8) picked up his second win in as many starts and Narciso Crook drove in the go-ahead in the sixth inning as the Wahoos earned a series win with a 2-1 victory in game one of Tuesday night's doubleheader at Trustmark Park.
Gutierrez was locked in from the get-go. The Cuban right-hander allowed two hits through the first four innings of the ballgame and neither batter reached scoring position. In the fifth, his only mistake pitch was punished as Alex Jackson homered the 2-0 offering from Gutierrez to tie the game at 1-1. Gutierrez had the perfect response though as he retired the next three batters in order to close out the fifth.
It was the Wahoos who struck first in the game thanks to Taylor Sparks' solo home run in the second inning off Andres Santiago (L, 2-3). It was his fifth homer of the year and it gave Gutierrez and the Blue Wahoos a quick 1-0 edge.
Santiago-much like Gutierrez-elevated his game after the home run. The right-hander allowed a total of three hits and pitched all seven innings for the M-Braves. The only other time he ran into trouble was in the sixth inning, when the Wahoos took the lead. Daniel Sweet led off with a bunt single and took second base on a throwing error by Daniel Lockhart. After a Shed Long sacrifice bunt moved Sweet to third, Narciso Crook singled home Sweet with an RBI single to right-field, which gave the Wahoos a 2-1 lead.
After 5.1 impressive innings from Gutierrez, manager Jody Davis turned to ball over to Alejandro Chacin to close the game out. Chacin secured the final five outs and the Wahoos hung on for the win. Gutierrez finished the game allowing just one walk and striking out seven.
In the second game of the twin bill, the M-Braves used a grand slam from Carlos Martinez to surge to a 5-1 win.
Wyatt Strahan (L, 5-5) ran into trouble in the second inning when he walked M-Braves starter Michael Mader with the bases loaded to give Mississippi a 1-0 lead. After a scoreless third inning, the M-Braves blew it open in the fourth when Martinez launched a questionable grand slam off the railing in left field to make it 5-0. At first glance, it appeared the ball hit off the top of the wall, but despite Davis's pleas with the home plate umpire, the call stood.
Pensacola nabbed a run in the sixth when Crook singled home C.J. McElroy to make it 5-1. Crook finished the game with a pair of hits and extended his Double-A hitting streak to seven games. However, that would be all of the offense the Wahoos could muster as the M-Braves closed out the seventh inning in scoreless fashion.
The Blue Wahoos will wrap up the first-half of the season with a five-game series against the Mobile BayBears. These two teams haven't met since Mobile took three of five from Pensacola in the opening series of the season. RHP Daniel Wright (2-4, 5.05) is expected to take the hill for the Blue Wahoos while RHP Jesus Castillo (4-4, 5.23) gets the nod for the BayBears. Wednesday's game can be found on the radio at 97.1 The Ticket, 1490 AM Milton, CST, and www.bluewahoos.com. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
- Pensacola Blue Wahoos -
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The 2018 season is underway at beautiful Blue Wahoos Stadium on Pensacola Bay. Group packages, season tickets, mini plans and single-game tickets are available for the 2018 season by calling (850) 934-8444 or online. Follow the 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.