The Tennessee Smokies were outshined by the Jacksonville Suns, 2-1. The Smokies now trail the best-of-five series two games to none.
Starter Jeremy Papelbon started out strong tonight, throwing five shutout innings. However, Suns pitcher Graham Taylor matched him zero for zero, and the game was still scoreless when Papelbon got into trouble in the sixth inning. He only retired one batter in the sixth, via the sacrifice bunt, and allowed two runs on two singles and a double. He exited with men on second and third and one out. Although reliever Alex Maestri pitched out of the jam by striking out two batters (after walking the bases loaded first), the damage had been done.
Papelbon pitched 5.1 innings, allowing the two runs on five hits. He walked only one and struck out seven. Maestri threw 1.2 innings, allowing no runs and no hits.
It seems like the Smokies have answered every time the opposition has scored in the postseason, and they did again tonight, although it wasn't enough. In the top of the seventh inning, right fielder Tyler Colvin reached on a strikeout/wild pitch. A single by shortstop Starlin Castro put runners on first and third with nobody out. Unfortunately the next batter, catcher Robinson Chirinos, hit into a double play which scored Colvin, but ended the only Smokie rally of the game.
Castro was the top Smokie hitter of the game, going 2 for 4.
Tomorrow is a travel day and Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year Casey Coleman will try to keep the season alive on Friday as he starts game three in Tennessee.