Winning streak runs to 8 games
Tennessee (10-1, 45-36) won its seventh in a row over the Greenville Braves (1-10, 37-42) and its eighth straight overall with a 5-1 victory Sunday night at Smokies Park. It was the second sweep for the Smokies over Greenville in the span of a week.
Bucky Jacobsen led off the second inning with a double to left and Papo Bolivar followed with another to drive home Jacobsen.
The Smokies added another run when Jacobsen scored John Nelson with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Nelson reached on a double and moved to third on a Caonabo Cosme single. With his two hit performance, Nelson is hitting .406 during his current eight-game hitting streak.
Jacobsen added an eighth inning RBI double to score Cosme and Bolivar followed with another double to score Jacobsen which made the score 4-0.
The Braves picked up a run in the ninth on a Ryan Langerhans pinch hit against Mike Lyons, but left the bases loaded as Kevin Sprague recorded the last out to pick up his first save of the year.
Rhett Parrott (6-7) pitched six shutout innings to win his third straight start. He also continued a hot streak for Smokies starters as they have now gone 7-0 with an ERA under 1.00 over the last nine games.
In the previous game of the series, The Smokies jumped on the Braves in the first inning when Bucky Jacobsen hit a three-run home run against former Florida Marlin Chuck Smith. Skip Schumaker led off the game with a walk and Caonabo Cosme reached on a fielder’s choice before being driven in by Jacobsen’s 17th home run of the year.
Smokies starter Julio Villalon (3-0), who’s won each of his three starts with Tennessee, ran into some trouble in the third as he gave up a walk and single. Catcher Dan Moylan, now starting for injured Yadier Molina, was able to get Villalon through the inning when he picked off a runner and threw out another. Molina suffered a sprained left ankle while running the bases Friday night.
Al Benjamin added an insurance run in the seventh when he plated Corey Erickson with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly. John Nelson drove home Kevan Burns with an infield single to put the Smokies ahead 5-1.
Villalon has now won all four of his starts this season, pitching seven innings and allowing one run on five hits. His ERA in three starts with the Smokies is now 0.83. Juan Pena and newcomer Josh Kinney relieved Villalon for the final two innings to preserve the Smokies win. Kinney worked a perfect ninth in his Double A debut.
Braves starter Chuck Smith (1-2) went 6 2/3 innings allowing five earned runs and four walks as he picked up the loss.