The Sounds fell victim to an early deficit and dropped the series opener against the Memphis Redbirds at First Tennessee Park on Monday night, 5-2.
The loss was the team’s fifth straight defeat and put Nashville’s home record to 15-14. The Sounds had their chances, going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, but saw the Redbirds take the first game in the I-40 Cup Series.
Memphis stormed out to a 4-0 lead off Sounds’ starter Chris Bassitt. Tommy Pham got the ‘Birds on the board when he blooped a two-run single in the first. Rafael Ortega hit a double and scored in the second and then produced a run-scoring triple in the third.
Bassitt came into the start having allowed just one run in four prior games at First Tennessee Park, but labored through five innings and fell to 2-5 on the season. The right-hander gave up four runs on six hits, fanning six in the process. His pitch count elevated quickly, as the 26-year old threw two wild pitches and walked three with his season-high 107 pitches.
Nashville had a tough time figuring out Memphis starter Nick Greenwood, who established season highs with six strikeouts and 6 1/3 innings. The Sounds collected only two hits off the left-hander, who improved to 5-1 with the win.
Niuman Romero and Ryan Roberts had the early hits off Greenwood. With the third-inning single, Romero has reached base in 28 of his last 30 games.
The Sounds did eventually get a pair of runs to cross the plate in the eighth. Craig Gentry reached on an infield single with two away and Joey Wendle added his team-leading 24th extra-base hit to set up runners at second and third. Rehabbing first baseman Ike Davis followed by beating the shift during his at-bat, slapping a single to the left side that scored both runners.
Ryan Verdugo, who had a rough outing against Oklahoma City on Friday, delivered two innings of hitless relief, while R.J. Alvarez struck out the side in his second consecutive outing during the ninth.
The cross-state rivals continue the three-game set on Tuesday at First Tennessee Park. The pitching matchup will feature a battle of the lefties, as Sean Nolin (0-0, 1.71) will duel with John Gast in the 7:05 p.m. game.