The Birmingham Barons were able to snap their longest winless streak of the season with two-consecutive wins against the Rocket City Trash Pandas. Despite the two day success, the Barons dropped the final three games of the series 6-1, 5-1 and 11-10, respectively.
In the first two games that are documented, Birmingham combined for two runs and a total of six hits. The Barons were held in check for those ball games, yet the series finale was filled with action from both foes.
The Sunday, May 21, matinee was a climatic performance with both teams combining for 24 hits and 21 runs. In the narrow loss all eyes were on one player from the Barons: Jose Rodriguez.
Rodriguez finished his day 3-5 from the plate with three runs, five RBI, a double, a solo home run and a grand-slam. The 22-year-old’s outstanding performance aided his series tallies to finish 5-23 with five runs, two doubles, two home runs and six RBI. Rodriguez finished as the Barons series spotlight with his stellar efforts in the series against the Trash Pandas.
Even with a quick glimpse into the Barons final three games against Rocket City, there is still more to each of the contests. Below is a closer look at each of the final games in Madison, Alabama.
Friday, May 19th
The Barons loss on Friday can be summed up in one word: Unearned runs. The Trash Pandas may have closed out the game with a 6-1 victory, yet all of those runs came off five unearned runs.
Rocket City got the unfortunate train going in the bottom of the third inning with five unearned runs. Before the Trash Pandas did that, however, the Barons captured their lone run with a sacrifice fly from Moises Castillo.
The Trash Pandas scored their runs all starting from an error from Castillo, and the unraveling of the Barons defense. The five runs may not have all been credited to starting RHP Matt Thompson, yet the game makes it seem as if it was his doing.
Thompson, in his 5.0 IP allowed seven hits, five runs, one earned run, four walks and struck out three. It was not his most successful outing, however the loss can not all be attributed to the Chicago White Sox No. 14 prospect.
The Barons were not able to slow down the Trash Pandas and the offense was not able to give any sort of support. Neither of the two phases were able to help each other out much, and it only got worse in the sixth inning.
In RHP Nick Gallagher’s 2.0 IP he allowed two hits, one run, zero earned runs and struck out three. The right-hander allowed his lone run in the bottom of the sixth inning off an error that put a Rocket City runner in scoring position.
Birmingham may have gotten unlucky with five of six runs coming unearned, but the Barons scored their run off an error as well. Even though they scored a run in the top of the third inning, they did not record their first hit of the night until the seventh. The Barons secured their first hit on a hard grounder that sliced through the left-side of the infield.
The Barons not garnering minimal offense until the seventh inning was not the recipe they wanted after a two-game win streak. Birmingham would not be able to extend the streak, and would get sat down 1-2-3 for the final time in the top of the ninth to close out the game.
Saturday, May 20th
After a loss with little offense, the Barons followed with another performance like it. In Saturday’s affair the Barons were defeated 5-1 and waited until their final opportunity to snag their lone run.
Before we get to that point, Rocket City broke the 0-0 tie with a three-run bottom of the fifth inning. In the fifth, the Trash Pandas captured its runs off a two-RBI single and a RBI single.
The two foes had fought back-and-forth until the fifth as both starting pitchers were dealing their best stuff. The Barons starting LHP Garrett Schoenle managed to go 4.1 IP with four hits, two earned runs, two walks and striking out six. Schoenle was labeled with the loss, but the southpaw kept the Barons in the game as long as he could, especially when the offense could not manage to get anything going.
The Barons offense was struggling, however that was not the case with the Trash Pandas. Rocket City tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-run blast from Aaron Whitefield.
Birmingham entered the ninth with a 5-0 deficit, and with two quick outs it looked like they were able to get shutout a fourth time this season. However, a Yoelqui Cespedes solo home run broke the shutout up and cushioned the loss to only four runs, instead of five.
The Barons went from a two-game winning streak to a two-game losing streak. Birmingham did not want to stretch it to three, but Rocket City had another idea in Sunday’s contest..
Sunday, May 21st
The Barons came into the series finale with minimal offense to show for in the past two games scoring two combined runs. Birmingham was holding all of its offensive power until the final game of the series as they exploded for 10 runs with 10 hits. The Barons were able to fend off the Trash Pandas for the majority of the game, however Rocket City was able to steal the game with a walk-off in the ninth.
The Barons jumped on the scoreboard first with a grounder from Taylor Snyder that scored a run in the second inning, yet the scoring really started for the Barons in the third. Two home runs, a solo shot from Jose Rodriguez and a two-run homer from Alsander Womack got Birmingham a comfortable lead early.
The lead may have been comfortable for the top of the inning, but with a six-run bottom of the third, Rocket City snatched it right from the Barons. The Trash Pandas scored in a flurry of ways and thought the momentum had shifted their way until the Barons came back up to the plate in the fourth.
Birmingham faced a two-run deficit, but they were not fazed as they knotted the ball game at six apiece with a single and sac fly. Tyler Neslony knocked in a run with an RBI-single and brought a runner to third-base. One batter later Alsander Womack sent a towering ball to right-field for a sacrifice fly that would score Rodriguez from third.
The Barons were firing on all cylinders on the offensive side of the plate, which led to the bases being loaded one inning later with Rodrgiuez up to bat. Rodrgiuez did not need multiple pitches to steal the lead back, the first pitch in the at-bat was sent over the outfield wall to secure a four run lead from his first grand slam of the year.
Birmingham kept the four run lead only for a half an inning as the Trash Pandas were not going anywhere. Rocket City cut the deficit to one run with a three-run bottom of the fifth inning.