For the second straight night, the Chattanooga Lookouts gratefully accepted a walk-off wild pitch for a victory. The Lookouts, closing out their five-game series at AT&T Field, blew an early lead but righted the ship in time to outlast the Tennessee Smokies, 5-4 in 11 innings for their second win in the series.
Unlike Monday's game two finish, which was a simple wild pitch, the Smokies defense collaborated with Smokies reliever Frank Batista (1-2) to get the deciding run home.
Rafael Ynoa led off the home 11th with a single up the middle and was bunted to second by Miguel Rojas. Batista intentionally walked Southern League batting leader Joc Pederson and retired Brian Calvazos-Galvez on a pop fly for the second out. With C.J. Retherford hitting, a ball got a short distance away from Smokies catcher Jair Fernandez and Ynoa headed for third. Fernandez's throw to third sailed into left field and Ynoa came home with the winner.
The bullpen would be on call all night long, beginning with Kyle Cofield being called on late to start in place of Ross Stripling. Cofield left after two innings when he seemed to pull a hamstring while running the bases. Usual closer Yimi Garcia (1-2) this time earned the win, working two hitless innings while striking out four.
Earlier, lefty Michael Thomas had a superb long relief job for the Lookouts, working three innings with no hits allowed and only two walks against four strikeouts. But Hector Melo and Jose Dominguez failed to do their job, allowing a single run in the seventh and two in the eighth (on a two-run triple by Rubi Silva) to erase a lead that had stood since the first inning.
The Lookouts loaded the bases with two out in the ninth, but Smokies reliever Frank Bautista was able to coax a ground ball out of shortstop Ozzie Martinez to send the game into extras.
The early offense was all Chattanooga's as Calvazos-Galvez launched a three-run home run to left (his second) in the first inning, then added a fourth RBI in the fifth with a single. He would finish the night with three hits.
Pederson, who held a 15-point lead in the Southern League batting race, was 1-for-4 with two runs scored to end the night at .327. Yasiel Puig did not enter the game until the middle innings, but finished the night 2-for-3.
The Lookouts have a welcome non-travel day off Wednesday, allowing them some R and R before the Pensacola Blue Wahoos arrive in town for five games.
As Jackie Robinson appears to be smiling down on him, Blake Smith could not come up with a falling line drive to right field.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt