Sox Deal AirHogs Gut-Wrenching Loss
AMARILLO, Texas - Nick DeBarr pitched a brilliant seven innings, but the Amarillo Sox came back against the Grand Prairie AirHogs bullpen in the eighth, scoring four times to sweep the AirHogs 5-4 at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium on Sunday, another blow to Grand Prairie's playoff hopes.
The Sox (44-49) took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Adam Buschini - after umpires overturned an initial call of home run on a ball that Buschini hit that went foul. DeBarr got a double play out of Patrick Arlis with runners at the corners to end that inning, and got around two hits to start the bottom of the second as well.
Meanwhile, Amarillo starter Justin Garcia allowed leadoff hits in each of the first two innings but got all six outs in those frames via the strikeout. But Alberto Espinosa's flare to center was missed by a diving Jake Luce for a triple with two outs in the second, allowing Grand Prairie (48-46) to tie the game.
Rodriguez ripped his 15th home run of the season leading off the fourth, and Garcia only allowed two other singles in his seven innings of work, but DeBarr was better in his seven frames.
The AirHogs righty allowed just the one run (unearned) in the first, and gave up seven singles, while striking out seven and walking no one.
Grand Prairie tacked on an insurance run on Rodriguez's two-out RBI double and Trent Lockwood's run-scoring single in the eighth against Chase Johnson (5-4), but it would not be enough.
Derrick Miramontes allowed singles to Garrett Rau and Adam Buschinito start the bottom of the eighth, before striking out Tim Alberts. Lefty Ronnie Morales (4-3) came in and walked lefty Jonathan Cisneros to load the bases, before a two-run Patrick Arlis double brought the Sox to within one. Chuck Lofgren's groundout to short tied the game, and after a walk to Derrick Pyles, a bizarre play brought in the winning run.
With an 0-1 count, Danny Gallinot foul-tipped the ball into the glove of catcher Alberto Espinosa. Pyles was running on the play, and did not realize that Espinosa held the ball, keeping it in play. He started wandering back to first, and Morales threw back to second to try to get him, but Pyles slid in safely and Arlis ran in to score the go-ahead run.
Wes Littleton then struck out the side in the ninth to get his third save of the year, as the AirHogs finished their road schedule at 19-31, losing seven straight series (including five sweeps) with a record of 2-20 in their last 22 games away from QuikTrip Park.
Notes: No AirHogs starting pitcher has won since DeBarr on August 6.Littleton finished all three games in the series and got strikeouts for eight of the nine outs he recorded.The AirHogs went 5-for-40 with runners on base in the series.John Alonso (ribs) and Scott Clement (hand) did not start the game. Clement pinch-hit and struck out to end the game.Espinosa's triple was the fourth of his career and his first since 2009.
The 2011 American Association Champion Grand Prairie AirHogs start their season-ending homestand against the Sioux Falls Pheasants at QuikTrip Park on Tuesday, August 28, at 7:05 p.m. Former Texas Ranger Bump Wills will be in attendance and throw out the first pitch. Two-time World Series winner Claude Osteen will also be at the game. All games are aired live and for free on Ustream by clicking on the link on the AirHogs' home page or visiting http://www.ustream.tv/channel/airhogs-baseball with selected contests aired on Time Warner Cable's Texas Channel. For information on tickets, promotions, advertising, and other opportunities with the AirHogs, check out the Web site at www.airhogsbaseball.com, or call the QuikTrip Park office at (972) 504-9383.
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