PCL baseball: Nashville hands Bees 1st home shutout of season
The Spring Mobile Ballpark crowd of 8,933 spectators applauded with relief after Andrew Romine caught a pop-up to shallow left field to take his Bees out of the top of the eighth.
There wasn't anything special about the play itself a routine fly. But it ended an awfully painful stretch for the Bees.
The catch was the end of three-run inning in which the home team had allowed four hits, three walks and three runs. And that eighth inning for Nashville (12-28) was the latter of two especially lucrative innings for the visiting Sounds who rocked the Bees (20-23) for an 11-0 win on Saturday night.
The fireworks show after the game was the highlight of the night for most Bees fans as the home team was shut out for the first time this season, while Nashville racked up 17 hits, including three homers.
"That's the beauty and the curse of our game," said manager Keith Johnson, reflecting on his team's 12-6 win the night before. "No matter how good you are one night, you've gotta come back out and prove yourself all over again."
Lefthander Zach Kroenke hadn't had a win all year, but looked like a star against the Salt Lake bats. After giving up three hits in the first inning, he only gave up three more in the rest of his start while keeping the Bees scoreless.
No Bees player got more than one hit in the game, and the team struggled to string together anything at all. At one point, the Sounds retired 11 straight Bees batters. The Nashville bullpen didn't allow a hit at all.
The game unwound gradually for the Bees, who were locked in a scoreless affair through three innings. Starter Matt Shoemaker had begun confidently, and wasn't even much shaken by a two-run homer in the fourth. A sixth-inning homer by Hunter Morris brought the Nashville lead to 3-0 not all that far out of reach.
But in the seventh inning, the game reached a downward spiral.
Shoemaker gave up two singles early, getting hit by a line drive back to the mound on the second one. He tried to pitch through it, but gave up a two-run double that prompted a pitching change.
Reliever David Carpenter struggled even more in only 11â3 innings. The 25-year-old gave up five hits, four walks and five runs, including another round-tripper to Morris. The game was out of reach by the eighth, and the Bees gave him a chance to pitch through the adversity.
"He's trying to get himself where he was a couple years ago, and the only way to do that is get out there and get it done." Johnson said. "Obviously tonight he was behind in a lot of counts, but he's a competitor, he got himself through it."
Fernando Cabrera allowed two hits in the ninth, but didn't give up any more runs. Salt Lake had runners in scoring position nine times, the last of which was in the ninth inning. But a strikeout ended their last hope to get on the board.
The Bees will hunt to split the series on Sunday afternoon in a 1:05 p.m. start.
Sounds 11, Bees 0
O The Bees allow 17 hits for Nashville, including three homers.