KODAK - In ten innings, the Tennessee Smokies dropped game one of their series 6-2 against the division-leading Birmingham Barons (33-47, 7-4) at Smokies Stadium on Sunday night. RHP Tyson Miller, The Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month in April, tossed his 10th quality start of the season. Miller punched out six batters through a four hit, 6.2 innings performance.
Tennessee took advantage of their first crack at Barons' RHP Vince Arobio in his first career start. Roberto Caro led off with a single. Caro then picked up a team best 24th stolen base taking second. P.J. Higgins delivered the game's first run with a two-out ground ball single up the middle to score Caro.
In the top of the second, Gavin Sheets led off and only needed one pitch to tie the game back up when he crushed the ball to right field and out of the park.
In a back and forth start, the next run came in the fourth. With two outs and no one aboard, Vimael Machin sent a ball into right-center field for a single. Next, Wynton Bernard earned a walk to move Machin into scoring position. Extending his eight-game hitting streak to nine, Jhonny Pereda poked a ball into right field bringing Machin home, making it 2-1 Smokies. Pereda also kept his streak of five consecutive multi-hit games alive, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks.
History would repeated itself, though. Leading off in the next frame, Baron Nate Nolan camped a ball into the Smoky Mountains for a solo home run to tie the game.
Pitchers for both sides faced the minimum number of batters spanning from the bottom of the sixth to the top of nine keeping the game tied at two.
The Smokies and RHP Oscar De La Cruz found themselves in a major jam in the top of the ninth. A pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with two outs for the nine-hole hitter Laz Rivera. Birmingham, however, squandered the massive late go-ahead opportunity due to an infield fly out ending the inning.
Then in the bottom of the ninth, the Smokies had a prime chance to walk it off. With two outs and runners on first and second, Gioskar Amaya lined a ball directly to the shortstop sending the game to extras.
With runners on at first and second, Nick Madrigal put the Barons ahead for good after he tripled to left-center in the tenth. Birmingham tacked on four runs off RHP Tommy Nance (L, 2-3), pushing them to a 6-2 advantage.
RHP Danny Dopico worked around a couple of base runners in the bottom of the tenth to preserve the lead, setting up LHP Kodi Medeiros (W, 2-8) for the win.
Game two of the four game home set is slated to start at 7:00 pm EDT at Smokies Stadium on Monday. LHP Luis Lugo (3-0, 4.96) for Tennessee challenges LHP Tanner Banks (1-5, 3.26) of Birmingham. Fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and Pepsi products all game, as well.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.