Lemonheads vs. Speakers

Game 1 – Jesse Hahn draws the short straw to start against Zack Greinke, and then barely out-pitches the Lemonheads’ ace, surrendering just a 3rd-inning Neil Walker solo in the hit column. Yoenis Cespedes (2) matches Walker’s solo in the 4th as both pitchers ride a 1-1 tie to the 9th.

With 2 outs and nobody on, Greinke fumbles Anthony Rizzo’s chopper. Buster Posey strokes a clutch RBI double to score the unearned run in the 2-1 squeaker. The ‘Heads muster just the 1 hit for an .097 team batting average while the Speakers total 3 hits.

W – Hahn (1-0, 1.12); L – Greinke; S – Brett Cecil (1)

Game 2 – In a more balanced matchup, David Price battles Chris Young. Adeiny Hechavarria’s 1st-inning triple leads to an early 1-1 tie after Chris Young’s fielding miscue and wild pitch score a Speakers  run in the top half.

In the 2nd with 1 out, Jackie Bradley, Jr. doubles. But the inning ends suddenly. Cespedes guns Bradley out at the plate. When Price commits an error–(that’s 3 pitcher errors already in the series)–former Speaker Chris Owings reaches 2nd, but is promptly picked off by Posey.

Anthony Rizzo coaxes a base on balls to lead off the top of the 7th. Posey follows with a 2-run HR (3) to shatter the 1-1 tie. Another unearned run in the 9th provides some cushion as Price completes the 4-1 win.

Following Price’s 2nd inning error, the Lemonheads’ next baserunner would be Bradley again on an 8th-inning walk. He was then caught stealing. With 2-outs in the 9th, Dalton Pompey doubles, but Hechavarria strikes out to end the game.

Through 2 games, the Lemonheads have as many errors as hits (4). The Speakers have pounded out 6 hits and 3 ER.

W – Price (2-2, 3.86); L – Young

Game 3 – Could a Francisco Liriano vs. Chris Archer matchup awaken any offense? Howie Kendrick’s 2-out RBI single in the 2nd plates yet another unearned run. Again with 2-outs in the 4th, Chris Young singles home Mookie Betts, who had doubled, for a 2-0 lead.

The Lemonheads record their first hit off Archer, a 1-out Walker double, in the 5th inning. He remains stranded at 2nd base.

In the top of the 8th, Charlie Blackmon pops a fly toward the Speakers dugout. Rizzo makes the grab and scares his teammates when he falls awkwardly, yet he is able to continue.

In the bottom half, Rajai Davis lifts a sac fly to center to score Manny Machado after his leadoff walk to expand the lead to 3-0. With 2-outs in the 9th, Cole Calhoun destroys the shutout with a solo home run. Archer then strikes out Matt Duffy for a 3-1 final.

The Lemonheads now total 3 runs and 7 hits through 3 games. The Speakers? 5 ER on 12 hits.

W – Archer (1-1, 3.62); L – Liriano

Game 4 – The Lemonhead bats provide exactly 1 hit in each of the first 3 innings, but do not score. Machado squares up a Clay Buchholz fastball in the 3rd for a 2-out 2-run homer (3). Betts connects on a solo in the 4th for another 3-0 Speakers advantage.

This time, the Lemonheads battle back. After 4 singles and a walk to lead off the 5th, Carlos Martinez gets the hook in favor of Cecil. When the inning ends, the ‘Heads bring 10 to the plate and score 5 times, including 1 on a Cecil error.

In the bottom of the 6th, Betts digs in with 1 away and runners on 1st & 2nd. After a passed ball on Yan Gomes moves the runners, Betts hits a long drive for 3 big runs, his second HR of the game and 4th this season.

Cecil, Tony Sipp and Jeurys Familia do not allow a baserunner after the breakout 5th as the Speakers hold on, 6-5. Out of 36 tries, the Lemonheads score in just 4 innings this series, although they out-hit the Speakers this game, 8-6.

W – Cecil (1-1, 4.05); L – Buchholz; S – Familia (3)

Speakers win 4 while dropping their team average from .236 to .220. Starters’ ERA also dropped from 3.60 to 3.30; overall ERA from 3.19 to 2.91.

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