Trash Pandas one win away from playoff spot with comeback win
By Aaron Cheris
Trash Pandas score four in the seventh for comeback victory
MADISON, Alabama – With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, one decisive swing was the difference the tide for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, turning a deficit into a late lead for a 6-4 win over the Montgomery Biscuits in front of an electric crowd of 6,727 at Toyota Field on Saturday night.
With the win, and Tennessee’s loss to Pensacola, the Trash Pandas’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to one. The Trash Pandas would clinch the first half North Division title and a spot in the postseason on Sunday with either a win over Montgomery or a Tennessee loss to Pensacola.
Down 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Rocket City began the comeback. Livan Soto drove in Jose Gomez with an RBI double into the right-field corner to cut the deficit to one run. Aaron Whitefield then walked to load the bases. Orlando Martinez followed with the swing of the night, crushing a three-run double into the right-field corner to put Rocket City ahead 6-4 and send Toyota Field into a frenzy.
Eric Torres returned for his second inning of work in the eighth and Kolton Ingram (S, 5) did the same in the ninth to finish off the Trash Pandas seventh win in their last eight games.
The game didn’t begin as well as it ended for the home team. In the top of the first, Crow looked to start an inning-ending double play on a comebacker, but his throw sailed into center field, putting runners on first and third with one out. Austin Shenton followed with a sacrifice fly to plate the game’s first run.
The Trash Pandas quickly responded in the bottom of the frame when Whitefield reached on an error and Martinez laced a triple to the gap in right-center, plating Whitefield all the way from first with the tying run. Preston Palmeiro then put the Trash Pandas ahead 2-1 after one with a double to deep center.
Montgomery tied the score in the top of the second when Garrett Hiott reached second on error and came home on an RBI single from Roberto Alvarez. Between the fourth and fifth, the Biscuits restored their lead on solo home runs from Hiott and Curtis Mead. Crow ended his start with a one, two, three inning in the sixth. Crow finished with three earned runs against on seven hits with six strikeouts over six innings in a no-decision.
Torres (W, 2-1) entered from the bullpen and held the deficit with a scoreless bottom of the seventh, setting the stage for the Trash Pandas’ epic rally. He would earn the win with two scoreless innings, striking out four. Ingram struck out the side in the ninth to earn the save.
Rocket City was led offensively by Martinez, who went 2-for-4 with four RBI while Soto added three hits in the win.
The Trash Pandas (38-24) wrap up their series with the Biscuits (25-30) with a Father’s Day matchup on Sunday afternoon. First pitch at Toyota Field is scheduled for 2:35 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.
As part of the Father’s Day celebration, 1,500 men ages 18 and older will receive a special Trash Pandas Fedora Cap, presented by The Rock Family Worship Center. Following the game, all kids ages 12 and under are invited to run the bases.