Lookouts Drop 4-2 Contest to Birmingham

The Chattanooga Lookouts (6-7) suffered a 4-2 loss to the Birmingham Barons (6-7) Tuesday night. In addition to Kyle Russell's absence from the lineup, due to a strained oblique, a lights-out pitching performance from White Sox No. 6 pitching prospect Simon Castro (1-1) spelled trouble in a mistake-ridden game for Chattanooga .

Among the long list of gaffes, a vocal Carlos Subero was unhappy with Chattanooga's three runners caught stealing, runner picked off and mistakes defensively while in the locker room after the game.

"It was probably our worst game all year," Subero said. "It was just one of those games where things didn't go right."

A balk-double combination from starting pitcher Aaron Miller put the Lookouts down 1-0 before the righty was knocked out of the game after four and one-third innings. Reliever Blake Johnson entered in a bases loaded jam, allowing two runs to score.

A throw from right fielder Blake Smith appeared to have Justin Greene gunned at the plate on a fly ball from former Lookout Corey Smith, but catcher Matt Wallach had the ball skip out of the glove, allowing Birmingham's second run to score.

"The play at the plate makes this a tough loss," Wallach said. "The ball just got toward the end of the glove and, as soon as [Greene] hit it, it knocked it loose. It's a hopeless feeling when you look down and you don't have the ball."

A batter later, second baseman Drew Garcia took advantage of a wild pitch, scoring from third to extend the Barons lead to three runs.

Castro tossed seven innings, allowing just one run while striking out seven batters for Birmingham. Castro's only hiccup came in the seventh inning. Blake Smith doubled to begin the inning for Chattanooga and a fielding error allowed Smith to advance to third. Luis Nunez skied a ball to right field to score Smith, drawing the Lookouts within two runs.

The Chattanooga bats were helpless against Castro, and outfielder Kyle Russell's absence from the lineup, due to a strained oblique suffered Monday night, added insult to injury. Castro struck out the side twice, four times retiring the Lookouts in order.

"You have to tip your hat to that kid," Subero said. "He got better as the game went on. Early in the game, he gave us some 2-0 counts that we didn't take advantage of, but after that there weren't many 2-0 counts. He did a good job of controlling his game and getting better as the game went on."

Chattanooga managed to put a second run on the board in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly from Anthony Jackson, but Birmingham answered back in the ninth with the game's final run, ending the Lookouts chances of a third home win.

Chattanooga will face Birmingham again Wednesday at 11:15 a.m. Right-hander Matt Magill (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will get the start on the mound for the Lookouts tomorrow and will face Birmingham's Cameron Bayne (0-0, 3.72) in the midweek matchup.

Kyle Russell is expected to return to the lineup in a week, placed on the 7-day DL for the strained oblique. The 25-year-old tweaked the muscle on a swing in yesterday's game against Birmingham in his second at bat. Even after grabbing his back on the strikeout in the fourth inning, Russell went on to bat two more times, doubling in his next plate appearance.

"It was pretty sore getting out of bed this morning," Russell said. "I strained it on that one swing, and in those other at bats I was just trying to hit a ball. I ended up hitting a double, but I'm going to give it some rest for the next seven days and hopefully I'll be back to 100 percent." As Russell goes on the DL, Chris Withrow is back in Chattanooga and set to rejoin the team tomorrow, according to pitching coach Chuck Crimm. After going down with a similar injury, Withrow went on the DL before the beginning of the season. According to Crimm, Withrow spent the past two series in Arizona, pitching in simulated games on his way back from an oblique strain. The Dodger prospect is currently on the 40-man roster and should be in uniform for tomorrow's Birmingham contest.

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