Right fielder Kyle Jensen(above right)belted his 24th home run of the season and drove in four runs to lead the Suns past the Jackson Generals 10-9 at Pringles Park.
By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns exploded for a season-high nine runs in the fourth inning, and then held on for a 10-9 win over the Generals on Sunday afternoon at Pringles Park in Jackson, Tennessee. The Suns snapped a four-game losing streak, and prevented the Generals from winning their 80th game of the season.
After allowing the first run of the night in each of the first three games, the Generals scored a run in each of the first three innings against Suns starter Bryan Evans. In the first inning, Bran Miller hit his first triple of the season, and scored on Chih-Hsien Chiang’s sacrifice fly to put the Generals up 1-0. Jackson increased the lead to 2-0 in the second inning when Johermyn Chavez doubled and scored on a Denny Almonte RBI-single. The Generals added another run in the third inning when Nate Tenbrink hit his fifth home run of the season, a solo blast to right field to make the score 3-0.
Generals starting pitcher Taijuan Walker breezed through the first three innings, striking out seven of the first 10 batters he faced in the game. The Suns solved Walker in the fourth with their biggest inning of the season, sending 14 men to the plate and scoring nine times. After Danny Pertusati walked and Aaron Dudley reached on an error, Kyle Jensen tied the game 3-3 with the Suns first hit of the afternoon when he belted a three-run home over the right field wall. Seven of Jensen’s 24 home runs this season have been three-run homers.
With one out Paul Gran was hit by a pitch for a league-leading 19th time, and Jake Jefferies followed with his second home run of the season to give the Suns a 5-3 edge. It was his first home run since May 15th at Montgomery. The Suns first two hits in the game on Sunday afternoon were both home runs.
After Jose Duarte singled and went all the way to third on a throwing error by Taijuan Walker, Alfredo Lopez singled with Duarte crossing the plate to add to the lead at 6-3. When Donnie Webb singled to put runners on the corners to continue the rally, the Generals would make the call to the bullpen and summoned Jose Jimenez. Danny Pertusati promptly greeted the new Generals pitcher by singling to right, driving in Lopez from third base for a 7-3 advantage. Dudley then reached base for the second time in the inning with a walk to load the bases. Kyle Jensen delivered a run with a single, and Kyle Skipworth drove in another with a ground out and the Suns had scored a season-high nine runs in the inning to build a commanding 9-3 lead. Joe Dunigan went deep for the 25th time this season in the home half of the fourth inning and it was 9-4.
Kyle Skipworth provided the Suns with a huge run in the top of the seventh when he smashed his 21st homer run of the season, a solo blast to right field to make the score 10-4. The Suns have hit three home runs in a game five times this season, all in the second half.
The Generals scored five runs in the final three innings of the game against three different Suns relievers. Brad Miller hit a solo home run in the seventh inning off of Sandy Rosario to cut the Suns lead to 10-5.
In the eighth inning the Generals cut the lead to 10-8 when Denny Almonte hit a three-run home run off of Bobby Bramhall. It was Almonte’s 12th round tripper of the season.
The Suns turned the game over to Arquimedes Caminero for the ninth, and Nate Thomson led off with a double and he scored to make it a one run game at 10-9 when Chih-Hsien Chiang singled to center field. After some tense moments, Caminero retired both Mike Zunino and Joe Dunigan on ground outs to end the game.
Kyle Jensen went 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI. He’s third in the league with 24 homers and 83 runs batted in. Kyle Skipworth and Jake Jefferies each hit the long ball and drove in a pair of runs. Every player in the Suns lineup scored at least one, with Danny Pertusati crossing the plate twice.
Denny Almonte finished 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. Nate Tenbrink, Brad Miller, and Johermyn Chavez each collected two hits and scored two runs. Miller ranks second among all Minor League players with 191 hits this season. The Suns and Generals combined for seven home runs in the game. The Generals lead the league with 117 round trippers, and have 15 multi-homer games in the last 47 contests.
Bryan Evans (7-8) allowed four runs on seven hits over 6.0 innings to win his final start of the season. Evans finished strong, winning four of his last six starts. He was 3-4 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, and 4-4 on the road this year. Arquimedes Caminero pitched the ninth to earn his second save with the Suns. Taijuan Walker (7-10) surrendered seven runs on eight hits over 3.1 innings in the loss, including home runs by Jake Jefferies and Kyle Jensen. Walker has allowed at least one home run in each of his last five starts.
The Suns are set to play their final game of the 2012 campaign Monday afternoon against the Generals at Pringles Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. LHP Brian Flynn (2-0, 3.92) will take the mound for the Suns in the season finale. Jacksonville finished last season with a record of 70-70, and a win on Monday would give the Suns a .500 record for the second straight season.