Chattanooga starting pitcher Allen Webster took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Monday night at AT&T Field, but it was all downhill from there.
Lookouts relievers had an odious mix of hits and walks that enabled the Carolina Mudcats to creep back and snatch a 6-5 victory capped by Mike Costanzo's solo home run to right in the top of the ninth inning. Carolina entered Monday with the worst record in all the minor leagues but improved to 18-40 by defeating Chattanooga for the second time in three games.
"Any time you've got a 5-0 lead in the seventh and end up losing 6-5, it's tough," Lookouts outfielder Scott Van Slyke said. "I know we've won the first two series against them, but when you're playing the last-place team in the league, you want to win all five, or at least four."
The loss was the 10th in 12 games for the Lookouts, who are 26-32 and having a tough time holding back the frustration. Manager Carlos Subero shouted "Worst team in the league!" as he walked off the field among his players, a couple of whom quietly declined autograph requests.
Carolina tied the game with a four-run eighth inning, with the bulk of that coming on Jake Kahaulelio's bases-loaded triple to right-center, a hit that denied Webster getting his first Double-A victory.
Webster, rated by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, had the crowd of 4,405 believing they might be witnessing something special. The 21-year-old right-hander from Madison, N.C., had the Mudcats befuddled until Felix Perez led off the seventh with a triple to right-center field on what would be his 91st and final pitch.
It was the third Double-A start for Webster, who was promoted from Rancho Cucamonga on May 26.
"He did an outstanding job," pitching coach Chuck Crim said. "If he keeps pitching like that, then we won't have him here for very long."
Webster, an 18th-round pick in 2008, opened the game with 12 balls in his first 15 pitches to load the bases. He then retired 12 straight.
"I knew he was just feeling for his mix and that once he got his mix going that they would have no chance, really," Crim said.
Kyle Russell put the Lookouts up 1-0 with a homer to right in the second, and a Jaime Pedroza single to right later that inning scored Van Slyke to make it 2-0. Chattanooga extended its advantage to 4-0 in the third when Matt Wallach's bases-loaded single to left with two out scored Alfredo Silverio and Brian Cavazos-Galvez.
Shortstop Dee Gordon, who hit .277 in Chattanooga last season and led the Southern League with 53 stolen bases, was promoted Monday to Los Angeles. The 23-year-old has played this season in Triple-A Albuquerque, where he hit .315 and tallied 22 steals.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.