Bowling Green, Ky. – Chris Kirsch continued his dominance and Willy Adames homered for the first time with the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) as they both helped defeat the South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona Diamondbacks) on Tuesday night, 2-1.
Kirsch (8-6) spun five scoreless frames to lower his season earned run average to 2.58. Since May 1, Kirsch has been one of the most dominant pitchers in all of Minor League Baseball, and tonight he earned his fifth consecutive victory, the longest such stretch in his career.
Adames didn’t make Kirsch wait long for a lead, as he led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run to right-center field. It was blasted off the scoreboard, and sent Bowling Green out to a 1-0 advantage.
The game then turned into a pitching battle, as Kirsch and South Bend starter Markus Solbach were both firing zeroes on the scoreboard. Neither team put a runner past second base until the eighth, when the Hot Rods doubled their lead.
Julian Ridings began the eighth inning with a triple into the right-center field gap. With Ridings at third base, Elias Torres hit a liner into right field. The ball nearly fell into the corner, but D.J. Bowman made the catch. Ridings tagged and scored to give the Hot Rods a bit of breathing room.
That breathing room was needed, as South Bend rallied to cut the deficit to just one in the ninth. With one out, Daniel Palka drew a walk. One out later, Justin Williams singled up the middle to cut the deficit to just one. After Jamie Westbrook reached on an error, putting the tying run at second base. The rally ended when Fidel Pena flew out to center field, securing the 2-1 victory for Bowling Green.
Willie Gabay and Brad Schreiber authored three scoreless innings after Kirsch exited the game, and newest Hot Rod Brian Miller pitched the ninth to record his first career save at the full-season level. Miller, a 2014 draft-pick out of Vanderbilt in the 15th round, is a Franklin, Tenn. native.
The Hot Rods will go for the series victory Wednesday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. Most tickets in the ballpark will be half-price thanks to Meijer, and gates will open at 6 p.m. CT for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. Wednesday is just game three of a seven-game homestand, and the excitement continues through Sunday. Fans can logon to BGHotRods.com, call 270-901-2121, or stop by the Bowling Green Ballpark box office for tickets and more information.