Sunday, July 26, 2009

Montgomery Biscuits Lose 4-1 To Birmingham Barons

Montgomery Biscuits[Via email from the Montgomery Biscuits' broadcaster Jon Laaser.]

The Birmingham Barons completed a five-game sweep of the Biscuits with a 4-1 win in the series-finale on Saturday night at Regions. It marks the first time in franchise history that the Barons have swept the Biscuits in a five-game series.

The Barons jumped on top quickly with a run in the first inning off of Biscuits' starter Brandon Mann. John Shelby III started the inning with a double to the left-field corner and C.J. Retherford followed with a bunt-single to put runners on the corners. David Cook gave Birmingham a 1-0 lead with an RBI single scorched to left field. The damage could have been worse for Mann who got a line-shot double-play from Javier Colina to end the inning.

Mann conceded a second run in the second inning as Lee Cruz opened the inning with a single. He was forced at second by Donny Lucy who took his place at first base. Robbie Hudson and Shelby III then provided back-to-back singles to load the bases. Retherford made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

Dayan Viciedo clubbed Mann's first pitch in the third inning over the left field wall to extend the Barons' lead to 3-0. It was the second consecutive night that Viciedo had homered on the first pitch of the inning. He homered on the first pitch of the second inning the night prior off of Rayner Oliveros.

The Biscuits got on the board with a gifted run in the fourth inning. Barons' starter Matt Long was cruising when with two outs, Matt Fields popped up a ball to the left of the mound. A communication breakdown allowed the ball to drop, with Fields reaching on the error. Nevin Ashley followed with a double off the wall in right field and Fields raced around from first base to cut the Barons' lead to 3-1.

The unearned run was the only one allowed by Long (2-2), who worked five innings in his second start of the season. He earned the win, allowing just two hits, while walking two and striking out five.

Mann (5-7) was saddled with the loss, also leaving after five innings. He allowed three earned runs on 10 hits - - three bunt-singles -- walked one and struck out two.

Birmingham extended their lead back to three runs with a run off reliever Ryan Reid in the sixth inning. Javier Colina started the inning with a single and Lee Cruz doubled behind him to put runners at second and third. A batter later, Robbie Hudson sent a sacrifice fly to right field to put the Barons ahead, 4-1.

John Lujan worked two scoreless innings of relief and Kyle McCulloch kept the Biscuits at bay in the eighth. Fernando Hernandez then completed the Barons' sweep with an uneventful ninth inning. Hernandez earned his third save of the series and 20th of the season.

The Biscuits will enjoy an off day on Sunday before opening a five-game series against the Huntsville Stars at 7:05 PM on Monday night at Riverwalk Stadium. RHP Brian Baker (5-2, 3.99) will make the start for Montgomery against RHP Mike Jones (2-3, 4.59) for Huntsville.

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