KODAK - Tennessee Smokies (29-33) shut out the Chattanooga Lookouts (34-27) 1-0 Sunday afternoon at Smokies stadium to end their six-game losing streak.
Chattanooga leads the series, 2-games-to-1 but now trail the North Division leaders by 3.5 games. The Montgomery Biscuits magic number to clinch the first-half title is now 5 with the Lookouts and 6 with the Jackson Generals.
The Smokies and Birmingham Barons have been eliminated.
The Lookouts have one of the best hitting teams in the Southern League but the seven hits on Sunday against the Smokies could not produce a run in the shutout loss. Chattanooga had three different opportunities to score.
Chattanooga out hit the victorious Smokies, 7 hit to 3. The Lookouts stranded seven runners and were 0-for-5 with runner in scoring position. Narciso Crook highlighted the Lookouts hitting with a 3-for-4 game
Lookouts' starting pitcher,LHP Packy Naughton (L, 2-2) went 6.0 innings giving up a single run on just 3 hits. Juan Martinez and Victor Payano each threw one hit-less inning each in relief of Naughton
In his first start with Tennessee, RHP Scott Effross (W, 1-2) threw a gem. He tossed a career high five innings and did not allow a run on just four hits. Effross got the start when LHP Justin Steele was placed on the Disabled List on Friday.
The win for Effross was secured in the bottom of the fifth. Charcer Burks started the inning with a lead-off single into right field. Lookouts' starter Naughton then retired the next two Smokies before giving up a game deciding RBI-single to Gioskar Amaya.
Following Effross, the Smokies turned to RHP Michael Rucker (S, 1) in the sixth inning to preserve the lead. He recorded five strikeouts out of the bullpen and went the rest of the way to record his first save of the year.
The Lookouts threatened in the seventh inning. With the lea-off runner on, Narciso Crook singled into left-center to put two on with no outs. Chris Okey moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. After a mound visit, Rucker was able to work out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts.
Lookouts game highlights (from redsminorleagues.com)
Alfredo Rodriguez went 1-4.
Jose Siri went 1-4.
Brantley Bell went 1-3 and was hit by a pitch.
Narciso Crook went 3-4.
Packy Naughton went 1-2 at the plate. He allowed a run in 6.0 innings with a walk and 3 strikeouts on the mound.
Juan Martinez threw a perfect inning of relief.
Victor Payano threw a perfect inning with a strikeout.
Monday in game four the Lookouts send RHP Tony Santillan (2-2,3.40) to face Smokies RHP Thomas Hatch (0-5,6.40). The game can be heard the game on at 98.1 FM or at MiLB.com at 6:45 p.m. .