Tag Archives: Chicago Cubs

Jose Alvarez Quiets Smokies In 2-0 Win

Suns starter Jose Alvarez allowed just two singles over eight innings in the Suns win over the Tennessee Smokies.  Alvarez and closer A.J. Ramos combined for the two-hitter.  Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns used the combination of dominant pitching by Jose Alvarez, and the long ball, to blank the Tennessee Smokies 2-0 Friday night at the Baseball Grounds. 

With eight shutouts already this season, the Suns have one more than their total from the 2011 campaign.  Each of the last three home victories for the Suns have been by shutout (7-0 and 9-0 over the Jackson Generals; 2-0 over the Tennessee Smokies).  Seven different pitchers have been on the mound for Jacksonville shutout wins this season, with Graham Taylor involved in two. 

The Suns jumped out to an early lead in the first inning against Smokies starter Dae-Eun Rhee.  On the second pitch that he saw, Suns leadoff man Donnie Webb hit his fourth home run of the season to give Jacksonville a 1-0 edge.  Webb’s blast landed in the last row of seats in right field, and nearly cleared the stands.  It was the second straight night that the Suns have hit a home run in the first inning.  Webb has now smashed three home runs in his last 11 games in the starting lineup. 

A day after Chris Gutierrez had his 16-game hit streak end, he found his power swing in the fifth inning on Friday night.  His solo home run to left field increased the Suns lead to 2-0.  Gutierrez has hit both of his round trippers in front of the home fans this season. 

The two-run advantage was more than enough for Suns starter Jose Alvarez, who rebounded from his shortest outing of the season June 14th at Mississippi (3.1 IP, six runs on eight hits).  The last time that Alvarez pitched at the Baseball Grounds on June 8th, he tossed a season-high eight innings and allowed just one run on four hits and deserved a better fate.  The Suns were shutout 1-0 by Jackson Generals starter Danny Hultzen on that night.

Alvarez was rewarded for his efforts on Friday against Tennessee, winning for the first time since May 1st to improve to 2-4 on the season.  He allowed just two singles over eight innings, walked only one and struck out five.  From the fourth inning to the eighth inning, Alvarez retired 14 straight batters.  In his last three starts at the Baseball Grounds, Alvarez has surrendered only three runs on 10 hits in 21 innings of work.  With Alvarez at the 99 pitch mark (61 for strikes), the Suns summoned A.J. Ramos to pitch the ninth inning, and he slammed the door on the Smokies to ear his fifth save of the season. 

Pitching on eight days rest, Tennessee starter Dae-Eun Rhee suffered the loss to drop to 4-3 on the season.  He tossed seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits.  Rhee has allowed the second-most runs (55) of any pitcher in the Southern League.

The Suns improved to 27-8 when scoring the first run of the game.  Jacksonville has scored at least one run in the first inning 20 times this season, with a record of 16-4 when they cross the plate in the first. 

Game three of the series in Saturday night at the Baseball Grounds with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m.  RHP Bryan Evans (2-4, 2.90 ERA) will start his 14th game of the season for the Suns.  Evans is third in the Southern League with his 2.90 ERA.  For the Smokies, RHP Dallas Beeler (2-5, 4.32 ERA) gets the nod for his 15th start of the season.

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Filed under Ahead Of The Curve, Southern League News

Smokies Down Suns To Start Second Half

Suns left fielder Jake Smolinski provided the only offense for the Suns when he hit hit his first home run of the season in the first inning against the Tennessee Smokies June 21, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns finished the first half of the season 14-21 at home, and began the second half of the season falling to the Tennessee Smokies 3-1 on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds.
The Suns scored their only run of the night in the first inning, when Jake Smolinski hit his first home run of the season off Smokies starter Nick Struck to put Jacksonville in front 1-0.  The Suns have scored at least one run in the first inning 19 times this season, and now have a record of 15-4 when crossing the plate in the first. 
The Smokies grabbed the lead in the third inning against Suns starter Omar Poveda.  Logan Watkins led off with a single, and Junior Lake singled behind him.  With one out, Justin Bour singled to right field with Watkins scoring to tie the game 1-1.  Bour leads the Southern League with 53 runs batted in.  Nelson Perez then put the Smokies in front with a sacrifice fly to center field, with Lake cruising home to give the Smokies a 2-1 edge.
Tennessee added another run in the fourth inning when Matthew Cerda led off with a single, and later scored on a Logan Watkins RBI single to increase the advantage to 3-1.
For the Suns, shortstop Chris Gutierrez went 0-for-4 and his hit streak came to an end at 16 games.  It’s the first time since May 30th that Gutierrez has been held without a hit.  For the Smokies, Junior Lake went 4-for-5 with three singles and a double.  It was his first four-hit game of the season. 
Suns starter Omar Poveda (6-3) pitched six innings, allowing three runs on nine hits.  The Smokies had at least one in every inning in the game except the sixth.  Nick Struck (8-6) tossed six innings in the win, and is one of just three Souther League pitchers this season with eight victories.  He allowed just two hits, a single and the solo home run to Smolinski.  Marcus Hatley earned his third save of the season.
Game two of the series is set for Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  LHP Jose Alvarez (1-4, 4.66) takes the mound for the Suns.  RHP Dae-Eun Rhee (4-2, 5.29) will get the start for the Smokies.

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Filed under Ahead Of The Curve, Southern League News