The Nashville Sounds brought the tying run to the plate twice in the final two innings but dropped Saturday night’s game 8-5 to the Sacramento River Cats. Nashville once again failed to get over the hump and get above .500 for the season.
Despite reaching the .500 mark for the seventh time in 2017, the Sounds still have not been above .500 since April 8 when they were 2-1.
For the sixth consecutive ball game the Sounds (19-20) drew first blood but unlike the previous five it wasn’t the long ball that broke the ice. With the bases loaded in the top of the third inning, Matt Chapman drew a walk to score Jaycob Brugman who started the two out rally with a base hit.
After getting through the first three innings without incident, Chris Bassitt’s command faltered a bit in the fourth inning. He hit the leadoff batter, Aaron Hill, and then left a hanger that was banged over the left field porch to give the River Cats (16-25) a 2-1 advantage. Bassitt (1-1, 7.24) would hit Hill again in the fifth inning along with Wynton Bernard before Ryder Jones unloaded a grand slam to break open the game and make it 6-1 River Cats. When all the dust had settled, Bassitt yielded seven runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of work with two walks and three hit batters.
Nashville got two runs back in the sixth inning when Joey Wendle went yard to begin the frame. For Wendle it was his third home run of the season and Nashville’s 54th of 2017. Ryan Lavarnway followed Wendle’s long ball with a base hit and came in to score on Ryan LaMarre’s sharply hit single.
Wendle again made his presence felt in the seventh inning. With two outs and Chapman on first base, Wendle ripped a double just fair down the left field line to score Chapman and cut the River Cats lead to 7-4. The Sounds would bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning in the form of Franklin Barreto but they were unable to claw any closer as Kyle Crick fanned Barreto on a 97 mile per hour heater.
Renato Nunez led off the ninth inning with a no-doubt home run over the left field fence to inch one run closer and Wendle picked up his third hit of the game two batters later. Lavarnway drew a walk to bring the tying run to the plate for the second straight inning but Crick got Chris Parmelee and LaMarre to strike out to secure the victory for the River Cats.
The two home runs for the Sounds extended their streak of six straight games with at least two big flys.
The Sounds play game three of their four-game set in Sacramento Sunday afternoon against the River Cats at Raley Field. Right-hander Jharel Cotton (1-0, 5.40) starts for Nashville against right-hander Chris Stratton (0-1, 5.96) for Sacramento. First pitch is slated for 3:05 p.m.