The losing streak for the Nashville Sounds hit four games as the Albuquerque Isotopes took game one of the series, 7-5, in front of 7,860 fans at First Tennessee Park Thursday night.
The Sounds (13-17) held a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning but the bullpen faltered down the stretch. Michael Brady allowed a run in the seventh, and Aaron Kurcz coughed up the lead in the eighth when Albuquerque plated a pair of runs to take a 5-4 lead. It's the first time the Sounds have lost a game when leading after six innings.
The loss wasted a solid effort by Sounds starter Chris Smith. The veteran right-hander allowed two runs on four hits over six innings. He walked a pair and struck out six. Smith's third-inning strikeout of Mike Tauchman was the 1,000th of his career.
His battery mate, Matt McBride, came up with a big hit for Nashville. Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth, McBride found himself at the dish with the bases loaded. The catcher sent a line drive into the left-center gap, clearing the bases to give the Sounds a 3-2 lead.
With one out in the fifth, Matt Olson drew a walk to spark another rally. With Matt Chapman at the plate, Olson swiped second base to get into scoring position.
Chapman was retired on a fly out, but Joey Wendle blooped a double down the left field line to score Olson and give the Sounds a 4-2 lead.
After Smith finished his six innings, it was all Albuquerque. Brady's throwing error helped the Isotopes plate a run in the seventh, and a balk by Kurcz in the eighth contributed to the Isotopes taking the lead.
The Sounds loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth but only came away with one run on Matt Olson's sacrifice fly.
Kurcz was tagged with the loss, his third of the season. Austin House earned the win to improve to 3-0 for Albuquerque.
Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for Friday night at First Tennessee Park. Right-hander Daniel Gossett (0-2, 4.91) starts for Nashville while Albuquerque has not announced a starter. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m.
The 2017 season is the Sounds' 40th in franchise history and their third as the Oakland Athletics' top affiliate. Season ticket memberships 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.