A black bat flew in the stands Friday night at AT&T Field.
Not a baseball bat into the stands. A winged sort of bat startled a few patrons as Chattanooga Lookouts closer Yimi Garcia closed a 4-3 win over the BayBears in which manager Jody Reed learned a little more about his bullpen and starter Rob Rasmussen.
"We're trying to establish that order, and it's nice if you can get that seven-, eight-, nine-inning guy and everybody has a role," Reed said. "I like Jose [Dominguez] in the setup role, Yimi has been our closer, and Aaron [Miller] has recently gone to the bullpen to get him in a one-inning situation where he can let it go."
Two batted balls into the stands provided most of the game's offense.
Spotted with a 4-1 lead, the bullpen managed to keep the Lookouts (13-21) ahead at the end. Miller relieved Rasmussen and got the first two outs. Then he allowed a walk right before pinch hitter Ryan Stovall laced an opposite-field home run.
But Dominguez pitched to three batters in the eighth inning and Garcia earned his eighth save with a perfect ninth inning.
But they couldn't have done their jobs without an impressive start from Rasmussen, who threw 88 pitches in six innings, walked none, struck out five and allowed one run in the first inning.
"It was a pretty good evening once we got out of that first inning," Rasmussen said. "It's nice when your guys come back and score three, and it's easier to pitch and attack the zone and let them put the ball in play and trust my defense."
The three runs came on a two-run blast by Joc Pederson over the Budweiser Pavilion for his league-leading eighth homer of the year. Yasiel Puig scored on a grounder by C.J. Retherford. Rafael Ynoa doubled to start the third inning and scored on a grounder by Puig.
Rasmussen and the bullpen -- albeit not with a perfect effort but good enough to get the necessary outs -- carried Chattanooga to a celebratory fireworks show.
"Rob has a live arm, he throws it well, and if he can get fastball command down," Reed said, "with that live arm and that movement, he's got a chance to play in the big leagues."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...