Sounds Defeat Redbirds in Season Opener, 7-1
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Chris Oxspring continued his recent run of dominant pitching and struck out a season-high 10 batters in leading the Nashville Sounds to a 7-1 victory over the division-rival Memphis Redbirds on Monday evening at AutoZone Park in the opener of a four-game series.
Oxspring (6-3) earned a victory for the fourth consecutive start after holding the Redbirds to one run on five hits over six innings of action, the Australian's fifth quality start. The right-hander has hit his stride, allowing only one run over his last 22 innings.
The three Nashville hurlers in the contest combined for 17 strikeouts, a new season high.
Memphis leftfielder Skip Schumaker put the home team on the board with a leadoff home run to right off Oxspring in the bottom of the first inning. The blast, his fourth of the year, came on a 3-2 pitch and put an end to the right-hander's 16-inning scoreless streak.
After the game-opening homer, the Redbirds would not score again the remainder of the evening.
Redbirds starter Mike Parisi opened with 3 1/3 hitless frames before Chris Barnwell singled up the middle in top of the fourth. The shortstop's attempt to tie the contest was stifled later in the inning when he was thrown out at the plate by Memphis first baseman Tagg Bozied while attempting to score on a Joe Dillon grounder.
The Sounds grabbed a 2-1 lead later in the fourth against Parisi after loading the bases with two out against the right-hander. Vinny Rottino lifted a shallow fly to right that fell to the turf after narrowly missing the glove of a charging Nick Stavinoha, who had stormed at a full sprint 40 feet from his initial post in right field. The play was ruled an error, however, making the runs scored by Laynce Nix and Dillon unearned.
Charles Thomas continued his recent hot hitting when he increased the Nashville advantage to 3-1 in the fifth with a leadoff solo homer to right off Parisi, the outfielder's third roundtripper of the year and second of the current road trip.
Dillon, who entered the contest with a team-leading 36 RBIs for Nashville, added two more with a two-out single in the fifth that plated Oxspring and Callix Crabbe to stretch the Sounds' lead to 5-1. Both runs were unearned because Parisi misfired on a Crabbe sacrifice bunt earlier in the frame, allowing the second baseman to reach safely.
Jose Macias provided the Sounds with a pair of insurance runs with a two-out, two-run triple into the right-field corner that brought the score to its final 7-1.
Dennis Sarfate followed Oxspring with two scoreless innings and fanned six batters, the most by a Nashville reliever this season. Luther Hackman, a former Redbird, closed things out with a scoreless ninth for the Sounds.
Parisi (4-5) took the loss for the Redbirds after allowing five runs (one earned) on five hits over seven frames.
The teams continue the series with another 7:10 p.m. CT meeting on Tuesday. The game will feature an outstanding pitching matchup.
Right-hander Yovani Gallardo (8-2, 2.89), who leads the minor leagues with 98 strikeouts and paces the Pacific Coast League with eight wins, will start for the Sounds and face Memphis right-hander Anthony Reyes (0-1, 1.93), who has been impressive in two starts for the Redbirds since joining the club from St. Louis.
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