Power, pitching lead Trash Pandas past Barons 5-1
MADISON – The Rocket City Trash Pandas jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, defeating the Birmingham Barons 5-1 to clinch a series victory over their North Division rivals on Saturday night at Toyota Field.
Making his first start since May 27 after being sidelined with an injury, Trash Pandas righty Sam Bachman was sharp, working around a single from Oscar Colas for a scoreless first inning.
The Trash Pandas got Bachman the lead in the bottom of the inning. Preston Palmeiro reached with a two-out single up the middle. Jeremiah Jackson followed by crushing a hanging curveball from Birmingham starter Sean Burke (L, 1-4) over the Rocket City bullpen in left field for a two-run homer, his 10th of the season, for an early 2-0 lead.
Bachman struck out two in a one, two, three second and then retired the Barons in order in the third with a strikeout and a pair of ground outs to end his night. Over three scoreless innings, Bachman allowed one hit and walked none while striking out four, throwing 35 pitches, 25 for strikes. Rocket City added on in the bottom of the third on Kevin Maitan’s RBI ground out, plating Jose Gomez from third.
Rehabbing Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jimmy Herget took the mound for the Trash Pandas in the fourth and allowed a solo home run to top Colas, the Chicago White Sox top prospect, his first Double-A homer. Herget rebounded to record all three outs in the inning with strikeouts, keeping the Trash Pandas in front at 3-1.
Bryce Teodosio got the run right back in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run of his own, a 380-foot opposite field blast to right center for his team-leading 12th home run of the season to restore the three-run lead at 4-1.
Brett Kerry (W, 3-5) entered in long relief for the Trash Pandas in the fifth and was stellar, throwing three hitless innings, striking out two and walking one to maintain the lead. That would earn him the win, his first since May 31.
The highlight defensively came for the Trash Pandas in the fifth. With two outs, Raudy Read hit a sharp ground ball to third that knocked the glove off Maitan, the third baseman. The ball deflected toward the shortstop Jackson, who fielded it with his bare hand and threw to first to get the out by a step, ending the inning and sending the crowd at Toyota Field to its feet.
Jordyn Adams tacked on another run for the Trash Pandas leading off the bottom of the sixth, crushing the first pitch of the inning off the roof of the Bullpen Bar in left field for his third Double-A home run, putting the home team up 5-1.
Sean McLaughlin was next into the game in the eight and fired a clean inning. Kolton Ingram finished the game on the mound with a scoreless ninth, improving the Trash Pandas Southern-League leading home record to 32-12 with the victory.
At the plate, Palmeiro, Teodosio, and Gomez all recorded two hits and scored a run while Jackson’s two-run homer in the first proved to be the difference. The Trash Pandas pitching quintet of Bachman, Herget, Kerry, McLaughlin, and Ingram combined to strike out 11 on the night, holding the Barons to just three hits in the win.
The Trash Pandas (52-37, 11-9 second half) and Barons (41-48, 10-10 second half) conclude their series 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 on WAAY 31.6, This TV.
On Sunday, the Trash Pandas will be celebrating Christmas (Eve) in July. Fans are encouraged to celebrate Christmas at the ballpark and Santa will be on hand for photos with other characters on the concourse from 1-2:30 p.m. There will be a Toy Drive at Sunday’s game, fans that donate toys for children of all ages will receive raffle tickets for a chance to win autographed Trash Pandas memorabilia. Following the game, all kids are invited to run the bases, presented by The Yard Milkshake Bar.