The Chattanooga Lookouts had one of those rare nights when they didn't seem to miss Andrew Lambo.
Starting pitcher Alberto Bastardo tallied seven strikeouts and no walks in seven impressive innings Saturday as the Lookouts topped Carolina 4-3 before a crowd of 5,144 at AT&T Field. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Lookouts, who improved to 2-6 against the Mudcats and 18-25 overall.
"We're going to keep playing hard," Lookouts shortstop and leadoff hitter Dee Gordon said. "We haven't given up at all."
Chattanooga was 11-10 on April 30, when Lambo was pulled from the lineup moments before a game against the Tennessee Smokies. The 21-year-old left fielder was suspended the following day by Major League Baseball for 50 games, having tested positive a second time for a drug of abuse.
In 19 games, Lambo was hitting .342 with seven doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs.
"When you lose a quality bat like that, it puts a little pressure on certain guys, no doubt," Lookouts hitting coach John Valentin said. "With him in the lineup, it extends everybody throughout the lineup and takes a little bit of pressure off certain guys. You're not looking for a whole lot from certain guys, and with him out, it does make a difference."
Scott Van Slyke was hitting .317 when he assumed Lambo's cleanup role, but the right fielder has been moved around recently and is now hitting .267. Gordon was hitting .367 at the time of the suspension and is now hitting .282, while second baseman Jaime Pedroza has gone from .288 to .239 in the same stretch.
"I couldn't tell you the stats or anything," Van Slyke said. "I just know we've been losing a lot lately. I don't know if that has to do with Lambo or 10 other different things."
Said outfielder Tommy Giles: "He helped, obviously. I don't know if we got cold or if the pens we've been facing have been better."
Corey Smith, Eddy Perez and Mike Rivera combined to go 8-for-11 in the heart of the order Saturday for Chattanooga. Smith singled to left in the third inning to score Elian Herrera with the game's first run, and he doubled to left to open the fifth and scored on Perez's ensuing single up the middle, which made it 4-0.
Chris Withrow (1-2, 6.38) is scheduled to start today's 2:15 game for the Lookouts, with Tom Cochran (2-1, 3.08) scheduled for the Mudcats.
Before Saturday's game, the Dodgers released relief pitcher Harvey Garcia. In 15 appearances with the Lookouts this season, Garcia went 1-1 with an 8.02 ERA.
The 26-year-old Venezuelan was one of two opening-day Lookouts with big-league time, having made eight appearances with the Florida Marlins in 2007.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...