MEMPHIS, Tennessee - The Round Rock Express (76-51) fell 5-4 at the hands of the Memphis Redbirds (61-67) on Wednesday night at AutoZone Park. 1B Abraham Toro notched his first Triple-A home run, but the Redbirds rallied late to steal the close contest.
Round Rock LHP Kent Emanuel (7-2, 4.23) suffered a tough-luck loss after a solid 7.2 inning start. Emanuel held the Redbirds scoreless in seven consecutive innings, but ultimately surrendered five runs on eight hits in the bottom of the eighth. On the winning side, Memphis RHP Jesus Cruz (6-6, 6.31) held Round Rock to scoreless in 1.1 innings out of the bullpen.
The Redbirds opened scoring in the first as CF Dylan Carlson and LF Tyler O'Neill teamed up for a pair of singles, the second of which pushed Carlson to third. 1B John Nogowski then drove in Carlson via a sacrifice fly.
Thanks in part to a pitcher's duel between Emanuel and 'Birds starter RHP Jake Woodford , the team's exchanged four speedy, scoreless innings. However, the Express bats sparked to live in the sixth as CF Drew Ferguson took Memphis' starter deep to level the score at one. Moments later, Toro smoked a home run to put Round Rock ahead by a 2-1 count.
The next inning, SS Alex De Goti hit a no-doubter that scored LF Garrett Stubbs , who had previously singled.
Memphis eventually broke through once again with a four-run eighth inning. 3B Max Schrock got things started with a double then SS Jose Martinez joined the runner on base after being hit by a pitch. Carlson then hit a two-out single to plate the duo and bring Memphis within one. LF Adolis Garcia , who entered the game as a defensive replacement for O'Neill in the eighth, spoiled the fun with a two-run homer that ultimately decided a 5-4 defeat.
The Express hope to settle for a split in Wednesday night's series finale. Round Rock LHP Ryan Hartman (6-5, 5.24) is set to start opposite Memphis RHP Chris Ellis (4-5, 7.21). First pitch at AutoZone Park is slated for 6:35 p.m.
For more information on the Express, visit RRExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and join the conversation during our historic 20th season using #20STROng.
Round Rock Express Baseball, owned and operated by Ryan Sanders Baseball, LP, is the proud Triple-A Affiliate of the Houston Astros and a member of the Pacific Coast League
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.