On an evening when Jeremy ‘Elvis’ Pearce was in the house, the Fresno Grizzlies couldn’t muster the hits when it mattered the most – and, instead, watched the visiting Memphis Redbirds deliver in the clutch – to open the best-of-five Pacific Conference Championship series Tuesday evening with a 10-4 loss.
A crowd of 5,976 witnessed the visiting club of the St. Louis Cardinals run up a 5-0 lead through the top of the fifth inning on:
▪ An opening home run to right field by lead-off batter Tommy Edman in the first inning.
▪ A two-out single by Wilfredo Tovar that resulted in two runs in the second inning when an errant throw allowed Tovar to reach third base. That was followed by a run-scoring single by Edman.
▪ A two-out, RBI single by Ángel Ravelo in the fifth.
Just when it appeared the Grizzlies were getting back into the game on RBI hits by Garrett Stubbs and Myles Straw to whittle the lead to 5-2 in the fifth, Memphis responded with two scores in the sixth inning.
Tanielu knocked in a sixth-inning run, and scored on a single by Stubbs to close the gap to 7-4.
However, a bases-loaded triple by the Redbirds’ Alex Mejía on a 3-2 count cleared the bases in the eighth inning to all but ice the game.
Fresno starting pitcher Brady Rogers survived a scare in the second inning when a line drive by Rodney Arozarena richocheted off his right shin. Rogers stayed in the game and managed to give up four runs on six hits.
Fresno designated hitter Yordan Álvarez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an eighth-inning single.
Game two is Wednesday night at 7 p.m.