The Mobile BayBears scored three runs in each of the first three innings, and then hung on for a 10-8 win over the Suns August 12, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns
By Steve Kolbe
The Mobile BayBears slipped past the Suns 10-8 in a slugfest on Sunday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. After winning the first six games of their 10-game home stand, the Suns dropped three of the final four. Mobile finished the season with a record of 16-9 against the Suns, and won 10 of the 15 games played in Jacksonville. The Suns fell to second place in the South Division, one game behind the Biscuits.
The BayBears dented the scoreboard in the first inning against Suns starter Jose Alvarez. Evan Frey led off with his third triple of the season, and Chris Owings followed with a single to put Mobile in front 1-0. A batter later, Matt Davidson smashed a two-run home run to increase the lead to 3-0. Davidson is second in the league with 21 home runs. In the bottom of the inning, Chris Gutierrez reached on an error and scored when Ben Lasater doubled to left field to make the score 3-1. Lasater finished the series 11-for-14 with four RBI’s.
Mobile scored three more runs in the top of the second with one swing of the bat. Alvarez retired the first two batters of the inning, but then allowed singles by David Holmberg and Evan Frey. Chris Owings followed with a three-run home run to give the BayBears a 6-1 edge. Owings entered the game without a hit in his last 18 at bats, he finished 2-for-5 and drove in four runs on Sunday. The BayBears hit 13 home runs against the Suns during the season. Alvarez allowed five home run in 109 innings entering the game, he surrendered two long balls in two innings against Mobile.
The Suns again scored a run in the home half of the inning, when Kyle Jensen hit a solo home run to make the score 6-2. Jensen tied Kyle Skipworth for the team lead with 16 round trippers. Jensen has hit five of his 16 homers against the BayBears this season.
In the third, Mobile sent eight men to the plate and scored three runs for a third straight inning. Ryan Strieby and David Nick singled, and Brent Clevlen walked to load the bases. Alvarez walked Ed Easley to force in a run, David Holmberg had a RBI single, and Evan Frey drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. The BayBears had built a 9-2 lead and forced Alvarez from the game by the end of the inning. Alvarez had allowed just six runs in his previous 29 innings of work before Sunday.
Zack Cox connected for his first home run with the Suns, a three-run home run in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 9-5. Cox hit nine home runs with the Memphis Redbirds this season before being acquired by Miami from St. Louis. He has 10 RBI’s in his first seven games with the Suns.
The teams went scoreless from the fourth until the eighth inning, when Matt Davidson drove in his third run of the game with a double, with Alfredo Marte scoring on the play to give the BayBears what appeared to be a comfortable 10-5 lead. Mobile scored at least five runs in the final four games of the series. It’s the first time this season that the BayBears have tallied five or more in four consecutive games.
The Suns didn’t go away quietly. In the bottom of the ninth, a walk to Kyle Skipworth and singles by both Paul Gran and Jake Smolinski loaded the bases. With two outs, Chris Gutierrez hit a fly ball deep to left-center field, just missing a grand slam with the ball bouncing off the top of the wall for a bases-clearing double, and the Suns trailed 10-8. Eury De La Rosa entered the game and enticed Danny Pertusati to ground out to end the game.
Zach Cox went 2-for-4 with a three run home run. Chris Gutierrez also drove in three runs with his ninth inning double. The BayBears collected 15 hits in the game, just one shy of the most in a game this season against the Suns.
Evan Frey and Matt Davidson each had three hits on the night for the BayBears. Chris Owings went 2-for-5 with four RBI’s. The BayBears had at least one baserunner in every inning except the ninth, every player in the lineup reached base at least once during the night, and every BayBears player scored at least one run with exception of Ed Easley. The BayBears won four of the five series against the Suns during the season.
After pitching complete games in each of his last two starts, Jose Alvarez (5-7) allowed nine runs on nine hits in a season-low two and a-third innings in the loss. Alvarez had allowed just six runs in his last five starts at the Baseball Grounds. David Holmberg (4-4) surrendered five runs on five hits over six innings for the win. Eury De La Rosa earned the save for the second straight night.
The Suns begin a five-game series against the first place Chattanooga Lookouts at AT&T Field on Tuesday, night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m. RHP Matthew Neil will start for the Suns. RHP Matt Magill takes the mound for the Lookouts.