We all know that good pitching, timely hitting and solid defense gives any baseball team on any level a good chance of winning, but when any of the three falter, those odds drop way down.
Facing the Birmingham Barons for the fourth straight day at AT&T Field Friday night, the Chattanooga Lookouts were lacking in two of the three, so it’s not a real surprise that the guys from Alabama prevailed for the third time in four games, this time by a 10-4 final.
The Barons came to town as the hottest team in the Southern League with the top team batting average, having won 10 of their last 12 before arriving in Chattanooga on Tuesday. They just keep rolling as they’re getting better than average pitching, timely hitting and solid defense.
The Barons have scored 32 runs in those three wins, so their bats continue to produce.
The Lookouts, on the other hand, are struggling in the pitching and hitting categories.
Friday’s game before 3,901 enthusiastic fans saw the Barons collect a dozen hits as they scored at least 10 runs in those last three wins. Every Birmingham player had at least one hit.
Meanwhile, Birmingham starter Garrett Devila pitched five innings and didn’t allow a hit before being relieved by Will Carter.
Michael Siani got Chattanooga’s first hit with a solo homer to lead off the seventh, but the Barons were comfortably ahead 5-0 at that point. The Lookouts added two more runs in that seventh inning on Alex McGarry’s seventh home run – a towering two-run shot down the line in left – but the Barons responded by scoring five more in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Newly promoted Connor Phillips got the start for the Lookouts, but suffered the loss after allowing four runs on four hits. He had seven strikeouts and two walks and pitched five innings, but walked the first two hitters he faced in the sixth before Jose Rodriguez ripped a two-run single to end Phillips’ night.
McGarry was the only Lookout with two hits as he added another home run – a solo shot to right in the ninth – for the 10-4 final.
Craig Dedelow, Moises Castillo and Rodriguez all had two hits as the Barons collected a dozen as a team.
Ivan Gonzalez had a two-run double in the eighth while J.J. Muno wrapped up the scoring with a two-run homer.
While Phillips took the loss, the Chattanooga bullpen faltered again.
Andy Fisher allowed a run on three hits in one inning of work while Ricky Salinas hurled the final three frames and gave up five runs on five hits. He was also the loser on Tuesday when he gave up a three-run double in the 10th when the Lookouts lost, 12-9.
Game five of this series is set for 7:15 on Saturday.
The Barons are now 3-1 and alone in first place in the North division of the AA South standings while the Lookouts are in last at 1-3.
BIRMINGHAM 001 004 050 – 10 12 0
CHATTANOOGA 000 000 301 – 4 6 1
Davila, Carter (6), Broadway (8) and Gonzalez; Phillips, Fisher (6), Salinas (7) and Free.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)