JACKSON, TENNESSEE - Yasiel Balaguert continued his feast against Jackson pitching, and the Smokies bullpen was stellar in a 5-3 win.
It was technically a bullpen game from the start. Trevor Clifton was scheduled to pitch for the Smokies but was replaced with James Pugliese who made his sixth spot start of the season. Tennessee went to work for their starting arm in the first, setting the table with a Charcer Burks double and a Carlos Penalver walk. Yasiel Balaguert would get in on the action later in the inning with a two run double, which put him at 60 RBI's on the season.
Tennessee's lead didn't last through the first frame. Kevin Cron hit home run number 20, and Jackson followed it up with two walks and two hits, giving them the early 3-2 lead. After the Smokies tied the game on an Alex Young wild pitch in the 4th inning, they once again took advantage of a wild pitch in the 6th which put Stephen Perakslis in position to score the lead run on a sacrifice fly from David Bote.
Yasiel Balaguert added a solo shot in the 9th inning for insurance, his sixth homer against Jackson this season. It was Balaguert's 12th overall. But with the Smokies bullpen on a roll, the run wasn't needed. James Pugliese gave up three runs in 3.0 innings of work and left with the game tied. Stephen Perakslis (3-1) pitched 3.0 innings of two hit, four strikeout shutout baseball. James Norwood continued his solid start since being called up, allowing just one hit in 2.0 innings of shutout baseball. Southern League pitcher of the month Craig Brooks picked up save number two with an inning of shutout baseball.
The Smokies aim for a series win tomorrow against Jackson, with Zach Hedges (7-7, 3.78) set to match-up with Joel Payamps (4-5, 6.02) at 7:05 ET.
ABOUT THE TENNESSEE SMOKIES
The Tennessee Smokies are the Double-A affiliate of the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Members of the ten-team Southern League, Smokies baseball has been entertaining families and fans of America's national pastime in the East Tennessee region for over 100 years. To learn more about the Tennessee Smokies, visit www.smokiesbaseball.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.