KODAK — It had been almost a month since the Tennessee Smokies had celebrated a home victory, but Eddy Martinez capped a four-run first inning with a long two-run homer and the Smokies went on to a 6-1 victory over Jacksonville Tuesday night.
Martinez added a two-run single in the sixth as Tennessee snapped a 12-game losing streak at Smokies Stadium before a crowd of 1,612. It was the first home win since beating Mobile on July 14 by an identical 6-1 count.
With the win, the Smokies are now 17-34 in the second half of the Southern League’s North Division and still occupy the cellar but have pulled even with Chattanooga in the win column and trail the Lookouts by just a game to escape the bottom spot.
Tennessee is now 50-70 overall for the season.
The Jumbo Shrimp remained in second place in the South Division but fell three games behind Biloxi in the race for the second half championship. They are 58-62 overall.
Game two of the five-game series between the two is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight.
Jack Patterson notched his first mound victory of the season for the Smokies. He left with two out in sixth after giving up six hits while walking two and striking out three.
Patterson got into mild trouble several times as he allowed the Jacksonville leadoff batter to reach base in all six of his innings. However, he was aided by four double plays and would not have allowed a run if not for a throwing error with two out in the sixth when the Jumbo Shrimp scored.
Ben Hecht got the final out in the sixth and worked a scoreless seventh before Michael Rucker pitched the final two innings. Hecht walked one and fanned two while Rucker gave up two hits and struck out three.
Martinez, Charcer Burks and Jared Young all had two hits as Tennessee collected eight in the victory.
Kolton Mahoney took the loss but actually pitched pretty well. After giving up the big first inning, Mahoney, now 4-2 for the season, faced only 12 batters in the next frames. He wound up pitching six innings and gave up all the runs while striking out eight.
The Jumbo Shrimp outhit the winners by banging out nine safeties. Victor Mesa and Jazz Chisholm had two hit apiece while Brian Miller and Stone Garrett added doubles.
After giving up hits to the first two batters he faced, Patterson escaped the first and his teammates went to work at the plate.
Burks led off with a single and after a strikeout, Nico Hoerner rapped a base hit to left. Tyler Payne singled in a run and Hoerner scored on a wild pitch for the Smokies.
Martinez then clubbed his third round-tripper of the season to make it a 4-0 lead.
The Smokies maintained their lead by turning double plays in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth frames.
In the Jacksonville sixth, Chisholm singled and Lewis Diaz walked before Joe Dunand hit into a twin-killing with Chisholm moving to third. Brian Miller then hit a routine grounder to short and the ball was thrown away and that was it for Patterson.
Hecht walked the first man he faced before getting Bryson Brigman to fly out to right field to end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, Hoerner reached on an error to start the frame but the Jumbo Shrimp turned a double play of its own. But Maloney walked the next batter and Young had a bloop double to left field.
Martinez then singled in the final two runs of the game.