A long, long inning in a short game can be disastrous in the minors, where seven-inning games are the norm when playing a makeup doubleheader. The Chattanooga Lookouts could not avoid one in a first-game loss to the Tennessee Smokes, 9-2, at AT&T Field Monday night -- but they avoided a second in a 1-0 nightcap walk-off win.
The Smokies sent 10 men to the plate in a seven-run fourth inning to provide Alberto Cabrera plenty to earn his fourth win of the season. But the Lookouts opened a new can of pitchers and allowed only one run over the next 10 innings, earning the split in walk-off fashion, 1-0 in the nightcap.
Chattanooga managed only four hits in the quickly played nightcap, but Blake Smith's leadoff double in the home half of the seventh turned into the winning run on a pair of wild pitches by Smokies Marcus Hatley (1-2), who came on for a brilliant Eric Jokisch (three hits, no runs) to start the seventh.
But the Smokies' hurlers were matched by five shutout innings by starter Rob Rasmussen, who scattered four hits with no walks, striking out five. The win went to Luis Vazquez (2-2), who battled through two innings with one hit and two walks allowed. Shortstop Osvaldo Martinez, who joined the team Saturday from Class AAA Albuquerque, had two of the Lookouts' four hits, one a double.
The only part of the opener that went off as planned was a scoreless inning for rehabbing Dodgers' left-hander Scott Elbert -- himself a former Lookout. Elbert struck out two in a hitless inning as his long road back from back-to-back surgeries continues.
By then, the damage had been done. The game was 1-1 after three innings, the Lookouts scoring right out of the gate on Yasiel Puig's two-out single in the first. Puig was thrown out trying to stretch the hit, and the rest of the game belonged to the Smokies.
Every part of AT&T Field was used during the Smokies' big inning. Asimendy Alcantara, who is having a memorable series, had a single, run scored and two-run ground rule double in the inning. Christian Villanueva got the scoring started with a two-run homer, his third. Rubi Silva had an RBI ground rule double, and starter Andres Santiago (2-5) then hit a batter, ending his night. Reliever Greg Infante fared little better, allowing a two-run double to former Villanova football star Matt Szczur and Alcantara's capping double.
Cabrera went the abbreviated distance for the win, striking out six and scattering five hits. For the Lookouts Miguel Rojas added an RBI double.
Joc Peterson, who had a 32-point lead in the Southern League batting race, was 0-for-6 in the doubleheader to end the night .329.
The series wraps up Tuesday evening at 7:15 p.m.
Lookouts starting pitcher Rob Rasmussen matched Smokies starter Eric Jokisch in a pitcher's duel.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt