Chattanooga starting pitcher Raydel Sanchez tossed six one-hit innings of shutout ball to earn his first victory at the Double-A level, while Lookouts center fielder Scott Schebler smashed a two-run homer as part of a three-run first frame to best the Tennessee Smokies 7-3 in front of 4,651 fans on Monday evening at Smokies Stadium.
The loss drops the Smokies to a 3-2 record in the second half of the season, in addition to a 36-38 overall tally, though they still won the series after their victory on Sunday afternoon. Chattanooga improved their mark 2-3 since the midpoint of the season, as well as a 28-47 total in 2014.
Sanchez (6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO) fired six solid frames to earn his first victory with the Lookouts this year, yielding only one hit and one walk to stifle Tennessee's batters throughout the evening. The right-hander retired 18 of 20 batters faced, including each of the final 11 Smokies hitters, with ten of the 18 outs recorded via ground balls.
Chattanooga for the third time in the series scored in the opening frame, plating a three-spot. 2B Darnell Sweeney started the initial inning rally with a single to center and then came across on 3B Daniel Mayora's RBI double to put the Lookouts ahead 1-0. After Mayora advanced to third on a flyout, Schebler would triple to advantage to three with a two-run blast to right-center, his 14th longball of the season.
The margin eventually would increase to four thanks to a single tally in the fourth. RF Casio Grider reached on a hit by pitch and stole second, prior to Sweeney's run-scoring two-bagger to center to make it a 4-0 Lookouts lead.
An inning later, the advantage would extend to 5-0 thanks to small ball. Schebler reached base on an infield single, took second on a passed ball and then swiped third, before being driven in on SS Angel Sanchez's sacrifice fly to center.
The Smokies would eventually get on the board in the seventh after Sanchez exited the game, plating three in the seventh. C Charlie Cutler reached on an infield base knock, took second on 1B Dustin Geiger's walk and third on a wild pitch, before scoring on RF Rubi Silva's RBI groundout to end the Lookouts' shutout thoughts. LF Anthony Giansanti and SS Elliot Soto then reached on a hit by pitch and base on balls, respectively, to load the bases for pinch hitter Taylor Davis, who delivered with a clutch two-run single up the middle to cut the deficit to 5-3.
However the Lookouts would answer back with a pair of scores in the next half frame in a controversial inning. Grider tripled to right, and then scored when Sweeney reached base on an infield chopper and then moved all the way to third on a throwing error. Sweeney initially did not leave the batter's box and the entire Smokies infield under the impression the ball was fouled off the batter in the box, however play continued with the run scoring.
A second Chattanooga run would then score off a wild pitch that appeared to have been kicked away by the Lookouts batter. Smokies manager Buddy Bailey would be ejected from the game after arguing the first call, while pitcher Jeff Lorick was tossed after disagreeing with the second.
Sweeney (3-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI) led all batters with a game-high three hits, while Schebler (2-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI) , O'Brien (2-5) and Grider (2-2, 2 R, 1 BB) each collected two base knocks. No Smokies batters recorded a multi-hit effort in the contest.
Following the three-run seventh, Lookouts reliever Juan Gonzalez (2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 SO) shut down Tennessee hitters from then on, firing two shutout frames.