Shortstop Starlin Castro singled home Brandon Guyer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Smokies a 5-4 win over the Jacksonville Suns. The win keeps the Smokies title hopes alive. They now trail Jacksonville two games to one.
There was a lot of scoring early in this game, as Smokies starting pitcher Casey Coleman allowed a run in the top of the first after a one-out double, a pair of walks and a sacrifice fly. But the Smokies came roaring back for three runs in the bottom of the inning, scoring on singles by first baseman Blake Lalli, third baseman Marquez Smith and catcher Welington Castillo.
Coleman couldn't hold the lead, however, as he allowed a two-run home run in the second inning and another run in the third to give the Suns a 4-3 lead. Coleman's final line for the evening was four innings pitched, allowing four runs on five hits. Coleman walked three and struck out four.
The bullpen then stepped in and kept the game close. David Cales pitched two shutout innings in relief of Coleman. He allowed only one hit and one (intentional) walk. Cales struck out two.
The Smokies tied the game in the fifth inning when right fielder Tyler Colvin doubled home left fielder Ty Wright. The score would stay knotted at four until the ninth inning.
Pitching in his third inning of relief, Marcos Mateo allowed a one-out triple in the ninth inning. With the Smokies season on the line, Mateo got a shallow fly out and a strike out to get out of the inning with no damage. Mateo, who was credited with the win tonight, went three innings and allowed two hits. He struck out three and isssued one intentional walk in that ninth inning.
With one out in the ninth, Guyer pinch-hit for Mateo and singled to left. He then stole second base and was singled home by Castro to end the game and keep the season going for the Smokies.
Castro was 2 for 5 with that one huge RBI. Wright went 2 for 4 and scored twice. Lalli was 1 for 1 with one RBI and three walks.
Andrew Cashner takes the mound for the Smokies tomorrow night as they look to stave off elimination one more time and even the series. This has been an exciting series, as two games were ended on singles in the bottom of the ninth and all three games were one-run affairs.