Eight Is great! Trash Pandas extend winning streak
Four home runs power 10-7 victory over Chattanooga
By Aaron Cheris
MADISON – The Rocket City Trash Pandas survived a slugfest with the Chattanooga Lookouts on Saturday night, holding on for a 10-7 win at Toyota Field to extend the longest winning streak in Rocket City history to eight games.
The Trash Pandas victory also improves them to a club-best 20 games over .500 at 50-30 through the first 80 games of the season and increases their Southern League-leading home record to 30-11. Rocket City will look to complete a six-game sweep of Chattanooga on Sunday afternoon.
Trash Pandas southpaw Ky Bush got off to a shaky start, committing two errors in the top of the first before rebounding to finish a scoreless inning. Rocket City opened the scoring in the bottom of the second when Ryan Aguilar connected on a solo home run 374 feet over the right field fence for his eighth big fly of the season to open the scoring.
In the second and third, Bush worked around baserunners to maintain the one-run lead. Bush got the first two outs in the fourth, and that would be the end of his night. Bush struck out six over 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk to maintain the lead.
The Trash Pandas continued the offensive assault in the fourth as Jeremiah Jackson led off with a solo home run to left center, his ninth of the season, doubling the lead to 2-0. Later in the frame after a single from Kevin Maitan and a walk to Braxton Martinez, Torii Hunter Jr. uncorked a monstrous 458-foot three-run home run to left-center for his fifth homer of the season and a 5-0 lead.
Chattanooga got on the board with three runs in the fifth off Cristopher Molina. The Trash Pandas got them all back on one swing, with Martinez connecting on a three-run homer into the Trash Pandas bullpen, his ninth of the season, to restore the five-run advantage at 8-3.
The Lookouts again clawed back into the game, plating three runs without a hit against Rocket City relievers Zach Linginfelter and Luis Ledo, cutting the Rocket City lead to 8-6.
Ledo returned to the mound with the two-run lead and protected it with a one, two, three seventh. In the bottom of the inning, Rocket City added on to put the game out of reach. Maitan singled and advanced to second on a ground out. Bryce Teodosio then hit a ground ball that deflected off the glove of the shortstop for an infield single and allowed Maitan to come home all the way from second while Teodosio advanced to second. As Teodosio stole third for his 18th stolen base of the year, catcher Eric Yang’s throw sailed into left field, allowing Teodosio to get up and score the 10th Rocket City run of the night.
From there, Aaron Hernandez (W, 2-3) fired a scoreless eighth and Eric Torres allowed a run in the ninth but was able to finish the Trash Pandas’ fifth straight win over the Lookouts and keep Rocket City’s undefeated July alive.
All nine Trash Pandas starters reached base with either a hit or a walk. Soto led the way from the top of the lineup, reaching base five times with two hits and three walks. Martinez and Hunter each drove in three with their home runs while Maitan went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a walk in a strong showing at the plate.
The Trash Pandas (50-30 overall, 9-2 second half) wrap up their series with Chattanooga (36-44 overall, 2-9 second half) on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for 2:35 p.m. at Toyota Field. 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 Sunday’s contest, all kids are invited to run the bases. Fans are encouraged to listen for an in-stadium announcement prompting those interested to line up at a designated location.