METAIRIE, Louisiana – The Memphis Redbirds didn't put a runner on base until the seventh inning before using some clutch hitting over the final three frames to scratch out a 3-2 win over the New Orleans Baby Cakes (Marlins) on Thursday night at the Shrine on Airline.
Memphis (36-24) starter Jack Flaherty kept the Redbirds in the game, matching zeros with New Orleans (21-38) starter Stephen Fife through six frames. Flaherty allowed two singles in the first inning before retiring 16 of the final 18 batters he faced. The only baserunners after the first came on a walk and a fielding error. The 21-year-old struck out eight, improving his Triple-A total to 13 in 12 innings across two starts. He continues to lead the Cardinals organization with 75 punchouts on the year.
Despite the phenomenal outing, Flaherty did not factor in the decision because Fife retired the first 18 Redbirds he faced. That changed with a leadoff single from Todd Cunningham in the top of the seventh. Nick Martini followed with a hit-and-run single before Luke Voit hammered his league-leading 20th double of the year to plate Cunningham. Martini would come home on a Carson Kellygroundout, giving the Redbirds a 2-0 advantage.
The lead was short-lived, though, as a leadoff error in the last of the seventh proved costly. Facing Mark Montgomery, Brandon Barnes launched a two-run homer to quickly knot the game at two.
Memphis wasted no time in reclaiming the lead in the eighth. Breyvic Valera led off with a single, moved to second on an errant pickoff, advanced to third on a fly ball, and finally scored on a sacrifice fly from Cunningham.
Leading 3-2, Memphis' Josh Lucas came on for the eighth and worked around a two-out single before handing things over to Sam Tuivailala, who recorded a spotless ninth to earn his fifth save of the season. Montgomery was credited with his second win of the season in relief.
The Redbirds now return home for a seven-game, eight-day homestand starting on Friday with the first meeting of the year with the Nashville Sounds (Athletics). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Next Games at AutoZone Park
The upcoming homestand (June 9-16) features:
Friday, June 9 (7:05 p.m.): Grab Bag Night, where the first 1,500 fans receive a classic logo novelty upon entering, Friday Night Block Party with a band and $2 beers in the Plaza before the game
Saturday, June 10 (6:35 p.m.): postgame fireworks, Beach Night with Rockey Beach Towel giveaway to the first 1,500 fans, Saturday Night Party in the Plaza with a band and $2 beers before the game
Sunday, June 11 (2:05 p.m.): Prairie Farms Ice Cream Sunday with free ice cream to the first 2,500 kids ages 12 and under upon entering, Kids Run the Bases after the game
Tuesday, June 13 (7:05 p.m.): King Cotton $1 Hot Dog Night
Wednesday, June 14 (11:05 a.m.): special game time of 11:05 a.m.
Thursday, June 15 (7:05 p.m.): All-Inclusive Night, where all Field Box, Dugout, and Club Level tickets cost $20 and include free hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and cheese, popcorn, and small sodas, Thirsty Thursday with select $2 beers