Pitching, Defense Central to Generals Win
Birmingham, Ala. - The Jackson Generals, the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, capitalized on a number of Birmingham Barons miscues on Monday, winning 5-2 at Regions Field to take a 2-1 lead in their five-game series. Jamie Westbrook and Jeffrey Baez supplied Jackson (9-7) with home runs, and Emilio Vargas (1-0, 3.43 ERA) and a trio of relievers shut down the homestanding Barons (9-9) on defense.
After a scoreless first inning, the Generals got under the skin of Birmingham's Bernardo Flores (1-2, 2.14 ERA) with a three-run shot from Baez in the second inning, his first of the year. Jamie Westbrook would add his own blast, a two-run shot, in the third inning, and that would be the sum total of the Generals' production on the afternoon. The Jackson offense collected just one hit in six chances with men in scoring position, winning for the second time in this series in spite of that low conversion rate. The Generals are now 1-for-24 over their last 3 games with men in scoring position, having stranded 28 men on the basepaths.
Strong pitching was an important component in Monday's win. Vargas' first quality start of the year included six innings of work on 79 pitches, featuring six groundouts, two flyouts, five hits allowed, no walks, and six strikeouts. After Vargas, the Generals' efforts were fortified by scoreless relief innings thrown by Lucas Luetge (H, 1), Damien Magnifico (H, 1), and Kevin Ginkel (S, 2).
Timely defense was perhaps the most important ingredient to the Generals' victory. Westbrook, the left fielder, helped throw out a pair of Birmingham baserunners in back to back innings. Westbrook started a relay to Andy Young that would end in the tag-out of the Barons' Blake Rutherford at third base in the second inning, but Westbrook wasn't finished. In the third inning, he finished off a double-play by catching a would-be sacrifice fly from Laz Rivera and then throwing out Ramon Torres at home plate to eliminate the threat. Center fielder Ben DeLuzio added an assist of his own in the eighth inning, starting a relay through Ramon Hernandez to Joe Robbins at second base that would catch Joel Booker as he tried to gain an extra 90 feet on a single.
NEXT GENERALS GAME:
7:05 pm CT Tuesday (4/23) vs. Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox)
Regions Field - Birmingham, Ala.
RHP Sam Lewis (0-1, 3.55 ERA) vs. RHP Felix Paulino (2-0, 2.65 ERA)
Broadcast Link: Birmingham Barons Baseball Network
UP AND COMING AT
Generals vs. Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA, Minnesota Twins)
Hero Night (April 27)!
For tickets and more information about the Generals, dial 731.988.5299 or log on to JacksonGeneralsBaseball.com!
Images from this story
Jackson Generals outfielder Jamie Westbrook
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