Memphis, TN – Chris Carter drove in five runs and scored a pair to propel the Nashville Sounds past the Memphis Redbirds 6-5 Tuesday night at AutoZone Park.
Carter put on his best performance of the season in a Sounds uniform. A two-run blast in the second inning clawed into the Redbirds lead, his RBI single in the fourth tied the game, and his eighth inning two-run triple secured the victory for the Sounds.
The Redbirds jumped on Ben Bracewell and the Sounds early, plating three runs in the opening inning. Tyler O’Neill drove in a pair of runs with a base hit while former Sound, Rangel Ravelo picked up a one-run single.
Bracewell lasted seven innings to set a new career-high while he yielded five runs on seven hits to go along with five walks on the night. The outing provided the Sounds bullpen with a bit of a break. Entering the night the Sounds bullpen had pitched more innings than the starting rotation since June 27th.
Nashville tried to jump on Memphis starter, Dakota Hudson early with seven of the first 11 batters to face him swinging at the first pitch. Of those 11, five put the ball in play and went 1-for-4 with a sacrifice bunt. The strategy of swinging early in counts did not continue as just five of the next 17 Sounds hitters to face Hudson took hacks on the first pitch.
In the top of the second inning Carter launched a towering two-run big fly to cut into the Redbirds lead. Renato Nuñez began the inning with a line drive single to right field and advanced to second on a Jaff Decker sacrifice bunt to set up Carter with a runner in scoring position. It turned out not to matter what base Nuñez was on as Carter deposited the baseball into the outfield berm.
Carter came through again for the Sounds two innings later. Nashville cashed in on a Redbird error, which allowed Nuñez to reach. With two outs and Nuñez standing on second base Carter lofted a base hit over the outstretched arm of Memphis shortstop, Wilfredo Tovar and into center field to draw even with the Redbirds 3-3.
Bracewell got into a little bit of a jam in the fourth inning. He retired the first two batters before walking Harrison Bader. The next batter, Alberto Rosario lunged at an 0-2 breaking ball and poked it out to the area vacated by Sounds second baseman Joey Wendle who was moving toward second base on a hit-and-run with Bader on the move.
Two more walks from Bracewell loaded the bases but the right-hander was able to get Alex Mejia to fly out to right field to limit the damage.
The Sounds evened up the score in the seventh inning. Carter got the frame started by drawing a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Beau Taylor found a hole in the Redbirds infield as he hit a slow roller that trickled into right field to drive in Carter from second base.
One batter after Bracewell secured his longest career outing he hung a breaking ball over the heart of the plate that Stephen Piscotty laced over the left field fence to once again regain the lead for Memphis.
With the Sounds staring down a fourth consecutive loss to the Redbirds, Carter stepped to the plate in the eighth inning. He split the gap in right center field to bring home a pair of runs and put the Sounds up for good, 6-5.
Raul Alcantara tossed a pair of scoreless innings in relief for the Sounds to earn his third save of the campaign.
The two teams continue a four-game series tomorrow at AutoZone Park. Right-hander Zach Neal (3-7, 4.99) starts for the Sounds against right-hander Jack Flaherty (4-2, 2.86) for the Redbirds. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35pm.
The 2017 season is the Sounds’ 40th in franchise history and their third as the Oakland Athletics’ top affiliate. Single-game tickets are available now by calling 615.690.4487 or by visiting www.nashvillesounds.com