The Mobile BayBears defeated the Suns 6-2 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The loss ended the Suns nine-game home winning streak. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns
By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns nine-game home winning streak came to an end, with a 6-2 loss to the Mobile BayBears on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds. The Suns loss, combined with the Biscuits 6-4 win over the Jackson Generals, dropped Jacksonville into a first place tie with Montgomery in the South Division.
Mobile took the lead in the top of the fourth inning against Suns starter Graham Taylor. After Alfredo Marte led off with a walk and Matt Davidson singled, Brent Clevlen belted a three-run home run to left field to put the BayBears up 3-0. It’s the 13th home run that Taylor has surrendered this season. Since returning to Mobile from Triple-A Reno, Clevlen has reached base in 11 straight games. The Suns dropped to 15-40 when allowing the first run of the game.
After being held without a hit through the first four innings by BayBears starter Mike Bolsinger, the Suns dented the scoreboard in the home half of the fifth. Alfredo Lopez singled and Graham Taylor walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Jake Smolinski then launched a 3-0 pitch down the left field line toward the foul pole, with the ball bouncing off the top of the wall mere inches from a game-tying three-run home run. Lopez scored from second on the play to make the score 3-1, with Taylor going to second base and Smolinski being held to a long single. Paul Gran then singled to load the bases, and Zack Cox singled up the middle with Taylor scoring from third to cut the lead to 3-2, but Smolinski was thrown out by center fielder Evan Frey on a close play at the plate.
Mobile increased the lead in the eighth inning against Suns reliever Arquimedes Caminero. Matt Davidson walked and Brent Clevlen singled, and both runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Ryan Strieby then singled with both base runners crossing the plate, and the BayBears led 5-2. Strieby took second on a throw to the plate, and later scored when Ed Easley hit a ground rule double down the right field line to add to the lead at 6-2.
Brent Clevlen went 2-for-4 with three RBI’s and two scored. Ed Easley also finished with two hits. Matt Davidson scored twice for the BayBears. The BayBears scored more than three runs in a game for just the ninth time in their last 32 games. The Suns had seven hits, all were singles, including Smolinski’s 321 foot single off the wall. In the first two games of the series, all 12 of the Suns hits have been base hits.
Graham Taylor (7-9) allowed three runs on four hits over six innings and lost for the first time in his last six starts. Taylor had been touched for just three runs in his previous five starts, and given up just one run in his previous 20 innings before Thursday. Mike Bolsinger (4-2) surrendered two runs on four hits in his five innings of work for the win.
The middle game of the series is Friday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, with the Suns and BayBears meeting in a matinee that starts at 1:05 p.m. In a match up of right handers, Bryan Evans (4-6, 3.94) takes the mound for Jacksonville and Brett Lorin (3-7, 5.10) will start for Mobile.