The Chattanooga Lookouts hit a bump on their road to recovery Sunday afternoon, losing 7-2 to Birmingham in a rain-shortened game at AT&T Field.
Chattanooga was attempting to get to .500 for the first time since the opening weekend of the season but instead fell to 11-13. The loss was just the third in nine games for the Lookouts, which has manager Razor Shines feeling much better about his club compared to the middle of the month.
"What is there not to like?" Shines said. "These guys have gotten after it and are playing hard. We're pitching. We're catching the ball, and I'm really enthused about the way we're playing."
Birmingham broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run seventh inning, which was spearheaded by doubles by Rangel Ravelo, Michael Earley and Miguel Gonzalez. Heavy rain arrived in the middle of the eighth.
When the Lookouts lost to visiting Jacksonville on April 18, they had the worst record in the Southern League at 5-10. Catcher Chris O'Brien said several players got together at that time and discussed how they weren't playing to their potential.
So the Lookouts are not only winning more frequently now but already have some experience at handling adversity.
"Winning helps development, and it's like anything else, because when you get knocked down, you learn to fight back," pitching coach Scott Radinsky said. "You can't hang your head and give up, and these guys aren't going to do that, because this is what they're trying to do for a living. If you're good, you're going to come though it, and when you come through it, you start to relax and just play."
Said O'Brien: "We didn't have the start we wanted, and the only way we could go was up. It's kind of good that we got that out of the way early, because when it happens again, we may have learned some things that could help us prevent a long skid."
Starting pitcher Tyson Brummett, who got the win Friday night, leads the league with a minuscule earned run average of 0.39. Chris Reed, who won Saturday night, has a 1.71 ERA and is among the league's top five in strikeouts with 28.
Second baseman Darnell Sweeney led off Sunday with a single to center, which was his 15th hit in the last 10 games, while left fielder Scott Schebler has nine extra-base hits and nine RBIs in his last nine games.
"I like the makeup of this club that we have here," Shines said. "These guys are going to play hard, and I'll bet everything I own on that. Sometimes we're going to lose games that we shouldn't lose, and sometimes we're going to win games that we shouldn't win, but I wouldn't trade these guys for anyone because I know we're going to play hard."
Garrett Gould (0-4, 8.31) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 series finale for the Lookouts, with Terry Doyle (2-2, 6.00) scheduled for the Barons.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.