Redbirds Win 11th in a Row, Tie Franchise Record
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky - The magical win streak for the Memphis Redbirds would not end on Wednesday night. They took both games in a doubleheader at the Louisville Bats (Triple-A affiliate, Cincinnati Reds), winning the first game 1-0 and rallying back to take the second game 5-4. Memphis has won 11 consecutive games, tying the franchise record set in 2017.
Game one of the doubleheader was a classic pitcher's duel. Each starting pitcher was excellent, as Riley O'Brien tossed five scoreless innings and Matthew Liberatore topped him with six scoreless innings for Memphis. Liberatore, the top pitching prospect in the Cardinals system, looked downright unhittable at times. The lefthander racked up nine strikeouts in his six scoreless frames, all of which were swinging.
The game remained scoreless into extra innings, where the Redbirds finally scratched across a run in the top of the eighth. Evan Mendoza began the inning as the placed runner at second with nobody out, and Scott Hurst bunted him to third via a sacrifice. While fielding the ball, Max Schrock threw it away, allowing Mendoza to score the game's eventual winning run. Kodi Whitley locked the victory down in the bottom of the eighth, stranding runners on first and third and clinching the 'Birds tenth straight win.
The second game of the doubleheader followed an eerily similar pattern to the first game, as pitching dominated once again. Austin Warner excelled in a short start. The Louisville native, pitching in his hometown, worked three scoreless and hitless innings with just one walk and four strikeouts.
Reiver Sanmartin was strong on the other side for Louisville (27-40), working a four-inning start. However, he surrendered a run in the top of the second when Dennis Ortega bounced an opposite-field single into right field, scoring Conner Capel and putting Memphis (32-36) up in front early by a 1-0 score.
The game remained 1-0 into the bottom of the sixth inning, when the Bats roared in front for the first time in the series. An RBI double from Alejo Lopez and a go-ahead, two-run home run from Jose Barrero gave Louisville a 3-1 lead. Barrero is 4-11 in the first three games in the series.
The Redbirds, true to form, rallied back in the top of the seventh. Two singles and an error loaded the bases with one out, and then Lane Thomas provided the first big blow. His two-run single into shallow right field scored Clint Coulter and Rayder Ascanio and tied the game at three. Then, after a walk loaded the bases again, Nolan Gorman had the knockout punch. His sharp single into right field brought home Hurst and Thomas to make the game 5-3 and put Memphis in position for its 11th straight win.
However, the game was far from over. Chris Okey doubled leading off the bottom of the seventh and promptly scored when the next batter, Michael De Leon, singled him home. De Leon eventually moved to third with two outs, but Connor Jones got the job done. He struck out Barrero to end the game and put Memphis on the doorstep of history. A win tomorrow would set a new franchise record for consecutive victories.
The Memphis Redbirds are the proud Triple-A Affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Memphis has claimed four League Championships and one Triple-A National Championship since their affiliation with St. Louis began in 1998. For the latest team news, follow the Redbirds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Ticket information can be found at memphisredbirds.com/tickets.
Thursday, July 22 at Louisville (6:00 p.m. CT)
- Redbirds Probable Starter: RHP Angel Rondón
- Bats Probable Starter: RHP Ashton Goudeau
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