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Sean Halton Homers Twice In Losing Effort As Nashville Blows Five-Run Lead
Round Rock, TX – Round Rock overcame a five-run deficit to force extras and a two-out Ryan Spilborghs single in the bottom of the eleventh inning gave the Express a 7-6 victory over the Nashville Sounds late Wednesday evening at The Dell Diamond in the opener of a five-game series.
The contest was the Sounds’ PCL-leading 16th extra-inning affair of the year (6-10 in those games).
The Sounds (61-71) scored in the top of the first inning, eventually built a five-run advantage, and led for the entire game until Round Rock rallied in the bottom of the ninth against Rob Wooten to send it to extras. Since the promotion of All-Star closer Jim Henderson to the Milwaukee Brewers on July 26th, the Nashville bullpen has nine blown saves in 12 opportunities.In the decisive Round Rock eleventh, Leonys Martin led off with a single to right against Nashville reliever Brandon Kintzler (0-1) and was sacrificed to second. After a fielder’s choice advanced Martin to third, Spilborghs ended the contest with a two-out single to left.
Third baseman Sean Halton enjoyed his third two-homer game of the season for Nashville and upped his team-leading RBI total to 49 by plating four runs in the contest.
Shortstop Eric Farris (4-for-6) led five Nashville players with multi-hit efforts in the game, his second four-hit effort of the year and the seventh by a Sound this season.
Sounds starter Brian Baker continued his strong second half, holding Round Rock to two runs in five innings of work and was in line to earn wins in back-to-back starts for the first time all season before the late blown save by the Nashville bullpen. The right-hander has posted a 2.74 ERA (17er/55.2ip) in his last 11 PCL outings.
Nashville grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Round Rock starter Greg Reynolds. Farris led off the game with a double to left and later scored the game’s first run on a Khris Davis sacrifice fly.
In the second, Halton — who made his first professional appearance at third base with a start at the hot corner due to the call-up of Jeff Bianchi and Taylor Green being unavailable due to illness — doubled the Sounds’ lead to 2-0 with a towering solo homer to left.
Halton broke the game open in the fourth when he blasted his second home run of the night, a three-run shot to left-center off Reynolds that extended the Sounds’ advantage to 5-0. It was his team-leading 14th roundtripper of the season.
Baker opened the night with four scoreless frames to run his personal streak to 15.0 consecutive scoreless innings for Nashville before the Express finally broke through in the fifth.
The Express rally continued as the next three hitters reached base to load the bases with still no outs. Baker recovered to induce a 1-2-3 double play from Yangervis Solarte then struck out Spilborghs to escape the inning with no further damage.
Borbon pulled the Express within a pair of runs in the sixth when he ripped a two-out solo homer to right off Sounds reliever Amaury Rivas to make it a 5-3 game.
Nashville tacked on an important insurance run in the top of the eighth when second baseman Adrian Williams, who went 2-for-5 in his first career Triple-A start, singled against Fabio Castillo and scored on Logan Schafer’s team-leading eighth triple of the year to extend the Sounds’ lead to 6-3.
Round Rock made it a one-run game in the bottom of the eighth when Spilborghs greeted reliever Tim Dillard with a two-run homer to right, his eighth big fly of the year. Solarte, who opened the inning with a double against Juan Perez, also scored on the roundtripper, which reduced the Nashville advantage to 6-5.
Later in the eighth, the Express placed the potential tying run into scoring position when Borbon doubled with two outs against Wooten, but the Nashville right-hander punched out Gonzalez for the final out of the frame.
The Sounds attempted to tack on a run in the ninth. Jordan Brown doubled and tried to score on catcher Humberto Quintero’s two-out single to center but was thrown out at the dish by Martin.
The Express rallied to pull even at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth against Wooten.
Martin led off with an infield single and moved to third on a Nelson single that deflected off the glove of a diving Williams on the right side of the infield to put runners on the corners. Kata followed with a grounder to second which Williams double-clutched then misfired to the plate to allow Martin to score the tying run.
With runners on the corners and no outs, Wooten was able to escape the jam without further damage with the help of an atypical double play. Solarte hit a grounder to first and Brown looked the runner back to third then stepped on the bag for the first out. During the play, Kata made contact with Williams in between first and second and stopped running, allowing Brown to throw him out at second to complete the twin-killing, leading to a lengthy Round Rock argument that culminated in the ejection of Express manager Bobby Jones. After an intentional walk, Wooten struck out Brandon Snyder for the third out of the inning.
The teams continue the series with another 7:05pm meeting on Thursday night. Right-hander Tyler Thornburg (1-1, 2.25) will toe the rubber for the Sounds. Round Rock will counter with left-hander Chad Bell (3-4, 4.76).
Round Rock Express (62-70) 7, Nashville Sounds (61-71) 6
WP: Reynolds, G.
TopicsAdrian Williams, Alberto Gonzalez, Amaury Rivas, Bobby Jones, Brandon Kintzler, Brian Baker, Chad Bell, Eric Farris, Fabio Castillo, Greg Reynolds, Humberto Quintero, Jeff Bianchi, Jim Henderson, Jordan Brown, Juan Perez, Julio Borbon, Khris Davis, Leonys Martin, Logan Schafer, Milwaukee Brewers, Nashville Sounds, Pacific Coast League, PCL, Rob Wooten, Round Rock Express, Round Rock TX, Ryan Spilborghs, Sean Halton, Sounds, Taylor Green, The Dell Diamond, Tim Dillard, Tyler Thornburg, Yangervis Solarte
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