Martinez walk off Home Run lift Trash Pandas 9-8
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Trailing by deficits of 4-0 and 8-4, the Rocket City Trash Pandas stormed back for a thrilling 9-8 win over the Birmingham Barons on Braxton Martinez’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth in front of an energetic Education Day crowd of 5,378 at Toyota Field on Wednesday afternoon.
Down 8-4 at the seventh inning stretch, the Trash Pandas began their second comeback with a sacrifice fly from Preston Palmeiro before Torii Hunter Jr. laced a two-run homer over the wall in left, his second home run of the season, to make it a one-run game at 8-7.
In the eighth, the Trash Pandas turned to reliever Kolton Ingram and the southpaw was dominant in relief, retiring all six Birmingham hitters he faced with five strikeouts and a ground out.
Rocket City tied the game in the bottom of the eighth when Bryce Teodosio led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on an error, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Livan Soto.
Once Ingram (W, 2-0) set the Barons down in the top of the ninth, Martinez delivered the decisive blow by crushing Declan Cronin’s 2-0 offering over the wall in left for his first professional walk-off home run, setting off a wild celebration at home plate.
The game didn’t begin as well as it ended for Rocket City as Birmingham jumped out to a 4-0 lead off Trash Pandas starter Brent Killam in the first four innings.
Teodosio got the Trash pandas on the board in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run blast 373 feet over the fence in left for his second home run of the season. Birmingham got a run back in the fifth on an RBI triple from Jose Rodriguez.
In the fifth, Palmeiro’s RBI single plated Trey Cabbage to make it 5-3 and Kevin Maitan crushed a double gap in left-center, scoring Palmeiro to make it a one-run game.
Birmingham again answered, extending the lead to 8-4 on a home run from Lenyn Sosa, an RBI double from Alex Destino, and Jagger Rusconi’s RBI single in the top of the seventh.
From there, the game belonged to the Trash Pandas as they improved their record to a season-best five-games over .500 at 11-6.
At the plate, eight of the nine Rocket City starters recorded a hit. The home runs from Teodosio, Hunter Jr. and Martinez led the way while Cabbage was 1-for-3 with two runs scored, a stolen base, and three walks.
The comeback win marks the third time this season Rocket City has won a game while trailing after six innings, with all three wins coming against Birmingham as the Trash Pandas maintained their perfect record over the Barons at 5-0 to start the season.
The Trash Pandas (11-6) and Barons (7-10) continue their series on Thursday night. First pitch at Toyota Field is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio. The game will also be televised locally on WAAY-31.6, This TV (Ch. 1181 on XFinity, Ch. 155 on WOW! Legacy, Ch. 45 on WOW’S TV+, Ch. 150 on Scottsboro Cable, Ch. 176 on Fayetteville Utilities).
At Thursday night’s game, 2,000 adults ages 18 and older will receive a one-of-a-kind bobblehead of former Trash Pandas ace and current Los Angeles Angels pitcher Reid Detmers, presented by Trustmark. Thursday is also Burgers & Buds Thursday, where fans can enjoy a burger and a Bud or Bud Light for $12, available at Dumptster Dive, Gravity Grille, or All-Stars concession stands. From 5-7 p.m., fans can enjoy Happy Hour on the Inline Electric Rock Porch with drink specials and live music.
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