Barons Downed by Generals in Series Opener
JACKSON, Tenn. - Despite a pair of RBI apiece from Ti'Quan Forbes and Laz Rivera, the Birmingham Barons (14-7, 41-49) dropped the series opener against the Jackson Generals (12-9, 51-40) by an 8-4 final Thursday night at The Ballpark at Jackson.
Forbes put the Barons ahead in the opening frame when he sent a two-RBI double off the center-field wall. Luis Gonzalez led off the game with a double of his own and Nick Madrigal followed with a single to set up Forbes' two-bagger.
Madrigal extended his hit streak to 15 games, which represents Birmingham's longest of the season, with his first-inning base knock.
However, Jackson responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the frame and another in the second to take a 3-2 lead against Barons starter Blake Battenfield.
Battenfield, who settled in for a five-inning performance, allowed three runs on eight hits and did not factor into the decision. He walked two and struck out three.
The Barons grabbed a brief 4-3 lead in the sixth after Laz Rivera delivered a two-run double to plate Blake Rutherford and Gavin Sheets.
Sheets extended his on-base streak to 28 games, which stands as Birmingham's longest stretch since Eddy Alvarez reached base in 29 consecutive games between June 15 - July 22, 2017.
Jackson, which has claimed 10 of the first 16 meetings between the two clubs, responded once more in the bottom half of the frame. The Generals scored three times against Luis Martinez (L, 4-2) and took command of the game for good.
Martinez, who suffered his second loss of the campaign in relief, surrendered three runs (all earned) across one inning.
Barons right-hander Vince Arobio allowed two more runs (one earned) in one inning of work, while right-hander Mauricio Cabrera logged a scoreless eighth inning to keep Birmingham within striking distance late.
It marked Cabrera's eighth consecutive appearance without allowing an earned run, which represents his longest such stretch since he compiled nine straight relief outings without an earned run during the 2016 season with the Atlanta Braves.
The Barons and Generals will continue their six-game set Friday night as Birmingham sends left-hander Tanner Banks (1-5, 3.27) to the mound against Jackson right-hander Cole Stapler (2-0, 5.73).
First pitch in Game 2 of the series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT at The Ballpark at Jackson. The game will be broadcast via WJQX-FM 100.5. Coverage will begin at 6:50 p.m. with the Coca-Cola Pregame Show.
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