Catcher Mark Thomas drove in the go-ahead runs with a double in the seventh inning, helping the Biscuits top the Jacksonville Suns 7-4 at Riverwalk Stadium August 28, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits
By Steve Kolbe
The Montgomery Biscuits avoided being swept and moved back into a tie for first place, defeating the Jacksonville Suns 7-4 on Tuesday night at Riverwalk Stadium. The Suns and Biscuits have identical 35-30 records and are tied atop the South Division with five games remaining in the regular season for each team.
The Biscuits broke the ice against Suns starter Brian Flynn with a two out rally in the third inning. After striking out Kyeong Kang and Ty Morrison, Flynn allowed singles to both Omar Luna and Shawn O’Malley, and a walk to Mikie Mahtook to load the bases. Derek Dietrich was then hit by a pitch to force in O’Malley from third to give the Biscuits a 1-0 lead. The Suns fell to 18-45 this season when allowing the first run of the game.
The Suns stormed back in the top of the fourth sending eight men to the plate against Biscuits pitcher Jake Thompson. With one out, Kyle Jensen walked and Danny Pertusati singled and then advanced a base on a wild pitch. Jose Duarte then walked to load the bases. Kyle Jensen scored on Thompson’s second wild pitch of the inning to tie the game 1-1. After Alfredo Lopez reached base on a single to load the bases again, both Duarte and Lopez came around to score on a throwing error by catcher Mark Thomas to put the Suns in front 3-1. Chris Gutierrez then drove in his 45th run of the season with a double off the left field wall, with Jake Smolinski scoring to increase the lead to 4-1.
The Biscuits had an answer in the fifth with Ty Morrison leading off with a double, Shawn O’Malley hit by a pitch, and Omar Luna hitting a single to left field to load the bases. Mikie Mahtook drove in a run with a ground out to cut the Suns advantage to 4-2. Dietrich tied the game 4-4 when he delivered with a single back up the middle, with O’Malley and Luna crossing the plate.
Montgomery grabbed the lead in the seventh against Suns reliever Grant Dayton. Luna doubled to start the inning, and Dietrich bunted his way aboard to put runners on first and third. Mark Thomas drove in both base runners with a double down the left field line to give the Biscuits the lead 6-4. Kyeong Kang increased the lead to 7-4 with a RBI-single later in the inning. It was his first RBI in his last eight games. The Suns had outscored the Biscuits 23-11 in the first four games of the series.
The Suns five-game winning streak came to an end, a stretch where Suns relievers tossed 18.2 scoreless innings. Jacksonville has still won eight of the last 10 games. The Biscuits snapped their five-game losing streak. The Suns won the season series 13-10.
The Suns finished the 2012 campaign 43-41 against division opponents, six more victories than last season. On the road the Suns are 32-33, and have won seven of their 14 road series this season.
Chris Gutierrez and Kyle Jensen each finished 2-for-4 for the Suns. Gutierrez hit his team-leading 25th double of the season. Jensen recorded his 19th multi-hit game of the season.
Derek Dietrich and Mark Thomas combined to drive in five runs. Dietrich finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, and Thomas was 2-for-3 and drove in in a pair of runs. Omar Luna extended his hitting streak to nine games going 3-for-5 with two runs scored. He is third in the Southern League in batting and finished the five-game series 10-for-21 with two straight three-hit games.
Suns starter Brian Flynn did not figure in the decision for the fourth straight outing. He allowed four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings. Grant Dayton (2-1) allowed three runs on four hits in 1.2 innings in the loss. Biscuits starter Jake Thompson surrendered four runs on eight hits over five innings in the no decision. He hasn’t won a start since July 14th. Marquise Fleming (4-5) tossed two hitless innings for the win. Matt Nevarez struck out two in a perfect ninth to earn a save in his Biscuits debut.
The Suns begin a pivotal five-game series in Jackson on Thursday night. The Generals own the best record overall record in the Southern League (76-59), and the best home record (41-24). In a match up of left handers, Jose Alvarez (6-8, 3.97) will start his 24th game of the season for the Suns against James Paxton (8-4, 3.05) for the Generals.
The Suns took three of five games from the Generals at the Baseball Grounds earlier this season by a combined score of 20-11 with two shutouts.