Jul. 17—Even with an offense backed by a go-ahead run grand slam, the Rocket City Trash Pandas bullpen struggled in their 11-5 loss Wednesday night to the Birmingham Barons at Regions Field.
The Barons took the lead in the bottom of the first off of Rocket City starting pitcher Davis Daniel after hitting Birmingham's Laz Rivera with two outs and the bases loaded.
Rocket City's Luis Aviles Jr. led off the top of the third with a walk, advanced to third on an error and came around to score on a RBI single by Orlando Martinez to tie the score at 1-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, a two-run double by Birmingham's Craig Dedelow, followed by a RBI single from Carlos Perez, put the Barons up 4-1.
Daniel was pulled after the fourth inning concluded. In just his second Double-A start for the Trash Pandas, the former Auburn Tigers pitcher gave up four runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Walks were issued to Trash Panda batters Izzy Wilson and Mitch Nay in the sixth followed by a single by Ibandel Isabel. Aviles then made the Barons pay. After two consecutive outs that were unable to move the runners over, Aviles blasted an opposite field grand slam to right to take the lead at 5-4.
Rocket City's lead didn't hold for long. Birmingham's Joe DeCarlo tied the game with a sacrifice fly off reliever Ryan Clark in the sixth. In the seventh, the Barons rallied for three runs off of reliever Luke Leftwich with a two-run single by Rivera to give the Barons an 8-5 advantage.
That advantage increased in the eighth to 11-5 with three more runs coming around to score off Trash Pandas reliever Kieran Lovegrove.
The Trash Pandas were unable to muster anything offensively the final two innings, and the Barons secured the victory.
Aviles led the Trash Pandas at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a grand slam, two runs scored and a walk. He has seven home runs and 17 RBIs over his last seven games. Isabel and Ray-Patrick Didder each had two hits.