Oklahoma City, OK – The Nashville Sounds used a balanced offensive attack and a solid performance from starter Zach Neal on the way to a series-opening 5-3 win over the Oklahoma City Dodgers Tuesday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Nashville (4-8) busted out of an offensive funk and put up nine hits and drew four walks to give Neal some overdue run support. The right-hander responded with 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball to pick up his first win of the season. Neal limited Oklahoma City (7-6) to six hits, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out five.
After Neal and Oklahoma City starter Justin Masterson exchanged zeros in the first inning, the Sounds got to Masterson in the second.
Chris Parmelee drew a walk and Renato Nuñez singled to put a pair of runners on for Matt Olson who knocked in the first run of the game with a sharp single to right field.
Olson scored a run of his own when Masterson uncorked a wild pitch, and Franklin Barreto added a sacrifice fly to give the Sounds a 3-0 cushion.
They added to the lead in the fourth with timely two-out hitting. Melvin Mercedes fired up the rally with a two-out double to right-center. Barreto reached on an error, Andrew Lambo walked, and Mark Canha made it hurt with a two-run single to left field to make it a 5-0 game.
The run support was a welcome site for Neal and the pitching staff. Over the recent six-game homestand, Nashville scored a total of eight runs.
Neal breezed through the first three innings, racking up three strikeouts in the process. O’Koyea Dickson broke up the shutout with an RBI triple in the fourth, and Alex Verdugo followed with a sacrifice fly to pull the Dodgers within 5-2.
The bullpen did the trick the rest of the way as Tucker Healy, Josh Smith, and Bobby Wahl slammed the door. Healy inherited a runner in the sixth and got Brett Eibner on a bounce out to end the frame. He then struck out a pair in a scoreless seventh.
Smith followed suit with a pair of strikeouts in a scoreless eighth before handing off to Wahl. The hard-throwing closer allowed a one-out solo homer to Bobby Wilson but earned the save.
Nuñez and Canha had multi-hit games while every Sounds player in the lineup reached base at least once.
Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for Wednesday night. Right-hander Daniel Gossett (0-1, 4.00) starts for Nashville against right-hander Jair Jurrjens (1-0, 1.50) for Oklahoma City. First pitch is set for 7:05pm.
The 2017 season is the Sounds’ 40th in franchise history and their third as the Oakland Athletics’ top affiliate. Season ticket memberships are available now by calling 615.690.4487 or by visiting www.nashvillesounds.com