KODAK, Tenn. - A better script could not have been written for the Tennessee Smokies in Friday night's affair against the Chattanooga Lookouts. Javier Baez's two-run walk-off home run propelled the Smokies to an 8-6 win over the Lookouts in front of 5,802 at Smokies Park.
The magic number for the Lookouts is one. Another Lookouts loss or Smokies win and Chattanooga is eliminated from the Southern League North Division race. With a record of (16-37) the Lookouts have 16 games remaining, 11 at home.
Once again, the Lookouts got on the board early in the game, as back-to-back RBI-hits by J.T. Wise and Jeremy Moore off Smokies starter Matt Loosen gave Chattanooga a 2-0 lead. The Smokies answered quickly with two runs of their own in the first inning to tie the game at two apiece. After Rubi Silva reached on a throwing error by Miguel Rojas, Justin Bour singled to move Silva to third. The next batter, Christian Villanueva, hit his league-leading 37th double of the season to score both Silva and Bour, tying the game.
The Lookouts would regain the lead in the fourth inning off of a two-run home run by Joc Pederson, making the score 4-2. Pederson hit a two-run home run in last night's game as well.
Loosen would be chased from the game after throwing 92 pitches in only four innings. He gave up six hits, six earned runs, walked five and struck out five.
With the score 4-2 in the fifth inning, the Lookouts would bring two more across the plate to make the score 6-2. Reliever P.J. Francescon took over for Loosen in the fifth and gave up a hit and a walk in the inning.
In the sixth inning, Jonathan Mota hit a two-run home run off Lookouts' starter Rob Rasmussen, to bring the Smokies within two, 6-4.
The Smokies would tie the game in the eighth inning on a two-run bloop single by Mota. Silva and Javier Baez scored on the play after they hit singles in the inning.
With extra innings looming, John Andreoli singled in the ninth inning on a bunt to the pitcher and stole second. Two batters later, Baez connected on his 14th home run of the season off Lookouts' closer Yimi Garcia to give the Smokies a walk-off victory. Garcia not only got a blown save but also took the loss.
The Smokies and Lookouts will face-off one final time at Smokies Park this season on Saturday night at 6:15. Tennessee will send southpaw Eric Jokisch (10-10, 3.47) to the mound facing off against Lookouts righty Ross Stripling (5-3,
Chattanooga returns home Sunday afternoon to face the Jacksonville Suns in a six-game series. Monday's double-header includes a make-up game. The Suns lead the Southern League's South Division