Lookouts fall flat Barons snap winning streak
Friday, June 22, 2007
By David Paschall
So much for going 70-0 with 70 shutouts.
The new-look Chattanooga Lookouts didn't look good Thursday night at AT&T Field, dropping an 8-3 decision to Birmingham. The Lookouts extended their scoreless-innings streak to 31 through the first two innings, but starting pitcher Carlos Fisher gave up four runs in the third and couldn't recover.
Fisher snapped the streak by walking Michael Myers with nobody out and the bases loaded.
"I hadn't done that in such a long time, probably since high school," Fisher said. "It just wasn't a good day for me."
Chattanooga dropped to 3-1 in the Southern League's second half, while Birmingham improved to 1-3. Had the Barons been shut out a fourth consecutive game, they would have tied the league record by going 36 innings without a run.
It was a less-than-stellar Double-A debut for Lookouts outfielder Jay Bruce, the No. 2 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization who was promoted Wednesday from high Single-A Sarasota. Bruce played center and had a nice throw to third for a first-inning out, but the promising lefty went 0-for-5 at the plate with four swinging strikeouts.
His first three strikeouts were on curveballs thrown by Birmingham lefty starter Gio Gonzalez.
"I was just a little too jerky those first three at-bats," Bruce said. "I would see that curveball and try to jerk it instead of staying up the middle with it. Chasing is chasing, and that's what I was doing. I was making him a lot better than he was.
"He's a good pitcher, but I got dominated tonight and shouldn't have."
Lookouts manager Jayhawk Owens said his 20-year-old newcomer was probably a little too excited but said that he can learn from the experience.
"It will be with Bruce like it was with Joey Votto last year," Owens said. "When it's a left-handed pitcher, he's going to be in there. This is about development, and the more lefties they see, the better."
Fisher, who allowed 11 earned runs through his first eight Double-A starts, gave up eight runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. He also allowed four walks and hit a batter as his ERA jumped from 2.09 to 3.31.
A Thomas Collaro sacrifice to left after Fisher's bases-loaded walk got the Barons within 3-2, and they tied the game when Cory Aldridge followed with a single up the middle. Birmingham went ahead to stay when a Jeremy Frost ground out scored Myers to cap the four-run inning.
"My innings are getting up there, and maybe my arm isn't where it should be," Fisher said. "I don't know. They hit some good pitches, and I couldn't put them away. My slider is not what it usually is. Guys are fouling it off a lot and then putting it in play.
"Mechanically I'm falling off a little bit, so I've just got to go back and work on things and focus a little better."
Chattanooga established a brief 3-0 lead in the second inning on Luis Bolivar's two-run triple to right and a successful suicide squeeze performed by Bolivar and Drew Anderson, who wound up reaching safely. Bolivar tripled again in the fourth with one out but was left stranded.
First baseman Adam Rosales and reliever Josh Roenicke also played with the Lookouts for the first time after coming up from Sarasota. Rosales went 0-for-4, but Roenicke rolled through a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts.
Sam Lecure (4-0, 3.58) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 matchup for the Lookouts, with Chris Honel (5-5, 4.50) scheduled for the Barons.