Memphis Redbirds (2-5 this week, 41-46 overall)
Three losses to the Albuquerque Isotopes at AutoZone Park pushed the Memphis Redbirds out of the division lead and to 13 losses in 16 tries this year against Albuquerque. The trip to Iowa was not a winning effort, either. Both Memphis wins this week came via Brock Peterson game-winning hits. This week marked the last the Redbirds will play against the Isotopes, and the last time to see the Cubs until late August.
June 27 vs. Albuquerque, Win 5-3
Brock Peterson hit a walk-off home run in the tenth to earn a win for the Redbirds. The home run was his PCL-leading number 19 for the first baseman. Memphis put the first run on the board in the second frame, when Greg Garcia scored from third on a two-out single by catcher Rob Johnson. Garcia scored again in the fourth on pitcher Jorge Rondon's double. Outfielder Tommy Pham's single in the next frame tallied another run before the Isotopes tied the game in the eighth.
The bullpen was called upon early after Boone Whiting left the game in the fourth frame. Reliever Jorge Rondon left his second pitch of the game hanging high in the strike zone, which resulted in a triple that scored a runner for Whiting's only run yielded. Marc Rzepczynski took over in the sixth and threw two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
Mitchell Boggs came out in the eighth frame and blew the save after yielding two runs. With the bases loaded and one out, a groundout allowed a run and the subsequent error on the throw to first allowed another run to score. Fernando Salas struck out three between the ninth and tenth to earn the win.
June 28 vs. Albuquerque, Loss 4-3
Victor Marte blew a save for the fifth time this season after allowing three earned runs in the eighth frame. Chad Huffman was the only Redbird to produce any runs. In the first frame, Huffman hit a sacrifice fly to score Ryan Jackson, a groundout in the fifth tallied one and his single in the seventh added one.
Scott McGregor got the start and pitched five good frames, yielding only one run. After yielding a lead-off triple to start the game, McGregor pitched well and minimized damage by only allowing one hit every inning. Sam Freeman tossed two scoreless frames, but Marte had some control issues. His first batter faced reach base on a wild throw on the strikeout and a wild pitch hit the next batter. The subsequent single scored one and the next single brought home two runners to surrender the lead.
June 29 vs. Albuquerque, Loss 3-2
Carlos Martinez yielded three runs for only the second time in his seven Memphis starts and earned his second loss. The right-hander's first run allowed came in the first after back-to-back singles. An RBI double to center field scored the other two runs in the third.
Memphis hitters could not conjure up a rally, scoring just two runs for the game. Adron Chambers' single drove in one run in the third and Garcia scored on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
June 30 vs. Albuquerque, Loss 5-3
The Isotopes scored early and built a four-run lead before Memphis scored. A bases-loaded walk scored one in the second, a ground-rule double scored one in the third and a sacrifice fly tallied one more in the third for the visitors. Starter Nick Additon allowed the three runs and was pulled in the sixth for Rondon. The right-handed reliever yielded a sacrifice fly to score one more with the bases full to put the lead at five.
In the eighth, the Redbirds responded with their own sacrifice fly as Jermaine Curtis drove the ball deep enough for Garcia to score from third. With the bases loaded and one out in the next inning, a groundout by Garcia added one, and Peterson's single added another. That was all the Redbirds could score, as the late rally was not enough.
July 1 at Iowa, Loss 4-2
Four runs in the eighth frame for the Cubs overcame the two runs the Redbirds put on the board as former Redbird Eduardo Sanchez earned the win for the Cubs. Tyler Lyons started for Memphis and threw seven shutout innings. Since his return from St. Louis, Lyons has not allowed a run and he struck out nine on Monday for 15 punch-outs in his last 14 frames.
Salas blew the save after allowing an RBI double and was pulled with two runners on. Sam Freeman relieved him and his third pitch was doubled deep enough into left field to score two more. A four-run eighth inning was enough for the Cubs to win despite Lyons' dominance.
July 2 at Iowa, Loss 6-2
Eight of the ten hits the Redbirds surrendered to the Cubs were extra-base hits, and Michael Wacha yielded four runs, the most he has allowed in a single start all year. In the first inning, Wacha gave up a double and then served up the next pitch for a two-run home run. A double scored one in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth signaled the end of Wacha's day. Rondon finished out the frame before Boggs was called upon.
Boggs got the first out, but a fly ball to left field was deep enough for a double. The next batter hit the 2-1 offering even deeper, going over the left field wall to put the lead at four. Boggs has struggled lately. Over his last ten appearances (16 1/3 frames), he has allowed 17 runs, 11 earned, with only eight strikeouts.
July 3 at Iowa, Win 6-5
Boone Whiting's second start this week was even worse than his first. Over 4 1/3 frames, he allowed five earned runs. The 23-year-old from California gave up three straight home runs in the fourth and allowed another in the fifth. The four home runs on Wednesday were more than Whiting had allowed all year. Nick Greenwood pitched 1 2/3 scoreless frames, Scrabble pitched two scoreless and Salas earned the save with a scoreless ninth.
Memphis hitters made up for Whiting's bad outing. Tommy Pham scored in the first on Peterson's single. In the third inning, Peterson doubled to put runners at second and third with two outs, and Curtis doubled to score two. In the sixth frame, the Redbirds tied the game with Pham's two-RBI single. Peterson singled in the ninth to plate the game-winning run.
Brock Peterson: Earned PCL All-Star honors, and proved he deserved it this week. Twice this week, the first baseman hit game-winners. Peterson leads the PCL in home runs (20) and extra-base hits (43); he also ranks top five in RBIs (63), slugging percentage (.587), and total bases (179).
Sam Freeman: Has not allowed a run since May 28, over 12 outings and 20 innings thrown. During that span, Freeman has struck out 25 batters and has lowered his ERA to 3.13 after finishing April with an ERA above eight. The club record for relievers is 22 innings without a run.
Boone Whiting: Has allowed a run in every start since May 25. Since then, he has pitched 33 2/3 frames with 26 runs allowed (24 earned). He does have 44 strikeouts over that time.
Victor Marte: His June ERA was 13.50. In nine appearances (eight innings), the closer allowed 12 earned runs with 16 hits and 8 punch-outs.
Mitchell Boggs: In the last ten appearances, he has allowed more runs (17, 11 earned) than innings pitched (16 2/3). In all 13 Memphis relief outings, he has compiled a 6.59 ERA over 13 2/3 frames with eight strikeouts.
6-29: Outfielder Chris Swauger called up from Springfield
The Redbirds start a seven-game home stand in Memphis on Thursday, squaring off against the Nashville Sounds and the Omaha Storm Chasers. It should be another low-scoring week as the three teams are bottom five in the PCL for batting average, runs scored and on-base percentage.
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