Louisville Falls in Extras to Gwinnett, 5-3
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - The Louisville Bats (27-43) dropped Tuesday night's series opener against the Gwinnett Stripers (38-31) at Coolray Field by a 5-3 score. Aristides Aquino extended his hitting streak to 21 games in the loss, with Louisville native Adam Duvall ending the game in the 10th inning with a walk-off homer for the Stripers.
After sitting through a rain delay that lasted one hour and 38 minutes, the Stripers got the scoring started in the bottom of the second on a damp night in the northeast Atlanta suburb. Jack Lopez singled in Rafael Ortega for the game's first run, with Ortega knocking in a run himself the next inning to make it a 2-0 Gwinnett lead.
Since the Bats have trailed in each of their last three wins, Louisville found itself in a comfortable position, with the offense not stressing and erupting to score three runs in the top of the sixth, taking a 3-2 lead. Christian Colon started the rally with a leadoff double, and was knocked in by Alex Blandino. Blandino scored on Aquino's single to tie the game, with Aquino breaking a tie with Chris Sexton for sole possession of the second-highest hit streak in Louisville franchise history, now trailing only Brandon Larson's 26-game hit streak in 2003.
Juan Graterol singled on a line drive to left field to give the Bats a lead, putting starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez (2-5, 7.60) in a position to get the win. The right-hander went 5.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits, walking two and striking out seven on 95 pitches, 64 strikes. The right-hander was stuck with a no-decision after Gwinnett scored a game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth to send it into extras.
A pair of Louisville players making their respective debuts for the Bats helped maintain the lead for the time being, with left-handed reliever Joe Mantiply striking out the side in the bottom of the eighth, and center fielder Jose Siri with a powerful outfield assist in the ninth, nabbing Travis Demeritte at third base to end the inning.
The Bats could not muster up a run in the top of the 10th off Gwinnett reliever Jonathan Aro (1-0, 3.65), who got the win for the Stripers after Adam Duvall led off the bottom of the frame with a leadoff, walk-off homer to give Gwinnett a 5-3 win. The Duvall homer scored Sean Kazmar Jr., who started the inning on second base due to the International League tiebreaker rules.
Louisville and Gwinnett are set to continue their three-game series on Wednesday night with another 7:05 first pitch as the Bats try to win their first game at Coolray Field since 2016. Right-hander Tejay Antone will make his 2019 Bats debut, set to oppose Gwinnett righty Patrick Weigel (0-0, 2.53).
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