Smokies fall in 13 innings as Ramirez hits home run
KODAK- A night after losing a tough 15-1 game to Huntsville, the Tennessee Smokies turned to pitcher Jake Arrieta to right the ship Saturday night.
Arrieta threw well, but the Smokies lost in a 13-inning marathon, 4-3.
Nick Ramirez solo shot won the game for the visiting squad.
Arrieta is on a rehab assignment for the Chicago Cubs and is hoping to get back to the form he enjoyed last season. After being traded to the Windy City from Baltimore, Arrieta held opposing hitters to a .185 batting average last season. He was the Opening Day starter for the Orioles in 2012 and became the first pitcher in team history to toss at least seven shutout innings while allowing two or fewer hits on the first day of the season.
The Texas-native did not figure in the decision as he pitched two innings, gave up two hits, one earned run, walked one and struck out two Huntsville batters. After leaving the game in the second, Arrieta was relieved by Dae-Eun Rhee who was impressive in the final four innings he was on the mound as he didn’t allow a hit after a bit of a shaky performance in the fourth.
Despite the solid pitching performances by the Smokies’ first two hurlers, it would take 13 innings to decide a winner. Ramirez connected on a one-out home run to left field in the top of the 13th inning and that proved to be the game-winner for the Stars as Huntsville prevailed.
The home team had ample opportunities to take the lead late in the contest as the Smokies left the bases loaded in the seventh, had the winning run at second base in the ninth inning, 12th and 13th inning. But Huntsville’s pitchers were able to pitch themselves out of the jam each time.
P.J. Francescon took the loss for Tennessee to fall to 2-1 on the season. Johnnie Lowe picked up his first win of the season for the Stars. Huntsville improves to 15-8 on the season while the Smokies fall to 10-13.
Tennessee fell behind 3-1 but used the long ball to tie things up. Jeudy Valdez smashed a home run to left that that plunked off the scoreboard about half way up in the fifth inning. Kris Bryant knotted the score at 3-3 when he blasted a one-out moon shot to left in the sixth for his 11th RBI of the season.
Huntsville scored first when Josh Prince singled to center, stole second and third and then scored on what appeared to be an inning-ending double play by Tennessee but resulted in an error that put Jason Rogers at second base in the top of the first.
The lead didn’t last long as Tennessee’s John Andreoli drew a lead-off walk and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rubi Silva. The Stars’ Greg Hopkins reached on an error and came home when Adam Weisenburger doubled down the left field line in the second. Kentrail Davis doubled to left and scored on a 6-4-3 double play turned later on in the fourth inning to put the Stars up 3-1.
-By Marlin Curnutt, Tribune Correspondent