A four-run first inning did the trick for the Las Vegas 51s in a 7-2 win over the Nashville Sounds in front of 9,291 fans at First Tennessee Park Thursday night.
Sounds' starter Zach Neal retired Brandon Nimmo on a groundout to start the game, but then yielded hits to five of the next six batters. Jayce Boyd started the scoring with a two-out, two-run double to the gap in left-center.
It didn't stop there as catcher Xorge Carrillo followed with another double to the gap in left-center, this time scoring Boyd to make it 3-0. The final run in the inning came off the bat of Cody Decker who rifled a line drive down the left field line to plate Carrillo with the 51s' fourth run of the frame.
Neal came back to put zeroes on the board in the second and third inning, but Las Vegas added a run on three more hits in the top of the fourth. Neal exited with two outs in the inning and took the loss after being charged with five runs on nine hits.
Meanwhile, Nashville's offense was being stymied by Las Vegas starter Ricky Knapp who entered the game with a 4-12 record at 6.69 ERA. The right-hander worked 6 2/3 innings and held the Sounds to one run on five hits.
Trailing 7-0 in the seventh, the Sounds got on the board thanks for a pair of doubles. Matt Olson started the frame with a two-bagger to deep center field. Two batters later, Joey Wendle added to his franchise record with a double down the left field line to score Olson.
The offense struggled to get going in the setback. The team managed eight hits, but three came in the final inning when Olson, Wendle, and Mark Canha had hits.
Wendle and Olson accounted for five of the eight hits the Sounds had. Olson went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored while Wendle went 3-for-4 with a double and a run knocked in.
Chris Jensen threw 3 1/3 innings in relief, followed by scoreless innings from Patrick Schuster and Lou Trivino.
The Sounds haven't won a series since June 1-4 against Iowa. They have another shot at it tomorrow night in the final game of the four-game set.
The series finale is scheduled for Friday night at First Tennessee Park. Right-hander Michael Brady (3-1, 3.65) starts for Nashville against right-hander Mitch Atkins (2-4, 11.20) for Las Vegas. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
The 2017 season is the Sounds' 40th in franchise history and their third as the Oakland Athletics' top affiliate. Single-game tickets are available now by calling (615) 690-4487 or by visiting www.nashvillesounds.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.