Trash Pandas: Bush, bullpen baffle Biscuits bats in 5-0 win
Trash Pandas shut out Biscuits for sixth win in seven games
By Aaron Cheris
MADISON – The Rocket City Trash Pandas moved closer to a playoff berth with a 5-0 win over the Montgomery Biscuits in front of an energized crowd of 5,606 at Toyota Field on Friday night.
The win, coupled with Tennessee’s loss to Pensacola, increases Rocket City’s division lead over Tennessee to five games with eight games remaining in the first half and shrinks the Trash Pandas’ magic number to clinch a the first half North Division title to three. The win also improves the Trash Pandas’ Southern League-leading home record to 23-11.
Following Thursday’s offensive onslaught by the Biscuits, the Trash Pandas pitching staff turned the tables on Friday night. Starter Ky Bush began the night by working around a pair of two-out walks for a scoreless first inning.
The Trash Pandas quickly got Bush the lead in the bottom of the inning when Aaron Whitefield laced a double off the wall in left, stole third base for his team-leading 19th stolen base of the year, and came home with the first run of the night on an infield single from Orlando Martinez.
Bush worked around base runners in both the second and third before Grant Hiott led off the fourth with a single and his first stolen base of the season. Erik Ostberg then hit a hard liner to the right side. Trash Pandas first baseman Kevin Maitan made a diving catch for the first out of the inning, then fired to second to double Hiott off the base and complete the double play. Bush ended the inning with a ground out from Blake Hunt.
Rocket City added to the lead in the bottom of the fourth as two walks and a single loaded the bases for Anthony Mulrine, who took one for the team and was hit by a pitch, plating Preston Palmeiro with the game’s second run. The Trash Pandas got one more an inning later when Whitefield came dashing home on a sacrifice fly by Palmeiro, barely beating the tag at home plate for a 3-0 Trash Pandas lead after five.
Bush (W, 5-1) ended his night with his first one, two, three inning of game in the top of the sixth. In his fifth consecutive quality start, Bush battled for six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out five to earn his fifth victory of the season, tying Luke Murphy for the team lead.
Murphy was first out of the Trash Pandas bullpen in the seventh and dominated, striking out a pair. Jeremiah Jackson broke the game open for good in the bottom of the seventh, crushing a 399-foot two-run homer on a line drive over the visiting bullpen in left to make it a 5-0 game. The home run is Jackson’s fourth in as many games and gives him 12 RBI in his last six games.
Luis Ledo finished the Trash Pandas’ seventh shutout of the season on the mound for the Trash Pandas with two scoreless frames. Offensively, Whitefield, Martinez, and Mulrine all recorded two hits in the win for the Trash Pandas.
The Trash Pandas (37-24) continue their series against the Biscuits (25-29) on Saturday night. First pitch at Toyota Field is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio. The game will also be televised locally on WAAY-31.6, This TV.
Following Saturday’s game, a magnificent fireworks show will light up the Rocket City sky, presented by SportsMED. The Trash Pandas will also be holding a school supplies drive at Saturday’s game, benefitting Kids To Love. Fans are encouraged to donate new supplies including pens, pencils, notebooks, crayons, and other necessitates. For each item that is donated, fans will receive a raffle ticket for Trash Pandas memorabilia, with a maximum of 10 tickets per person.