This wasn't exactly what the Chattanooga Lookouts had in mind.
Needing a strong showing against the first-place Jackson Generals to make a run at the Southern League's North Division first-half title, the Lookouts lost Tuesday night at AT&T Field for the third time in four games. Chih-Hsien Chiang drove in three runs as Jackson prevailed 5-4, pushing the Lookouts seven games out with 11 games remaining.
"We had a chance tonight and we had a chance the first game, and I think it's been a good series," Lookouts manager Carlos Subero said. "They've just played better, but like I've always said, if you don't have that little dot saying you've been eliminated, you've got to keep going."
The Lookouts still have six games left with the Generals this half, including this morning's series finale, and they essentially have to win all six to have any kind of chance.
"Who says we can't?" catcher Griff Erickson said. "We know what we've got to do. Sometimes baseball goes your way and sometimes it doesn't, and we need it to go our way."
The Generals (36-23) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Joe Dunigan drew a leadoff walk, stole second, went to third on Chris Pettit's fly to right field and scored on a groundout by Chiang. Luis Nunez tied the game for the Lookouts (29-30) with a home run to left in the third inning, but Jackson responded with two runs in the fourth.
A Dunigan bloop single to left scored Nick Franklin to make it 2-1, and another groundout RBI by Chiang gave the Generals a two-run lead. Chiang doubled to right in the seventh inning to score Pettit, which extended Jackson's lead to 4-1.
The Lookouts trailed 5-1 in the seventh when Erickson doubled to right-center to score Matt Wallach, and Erickson came home on a Jake Lemmerman groundout to make it 5-3. A Nunez RBI single to left made it a one-run game in the ninth, and a potential game-winning home run by Blake Smith with two out sailed foul of the left-field pole before he struck out.
"I didn't get it squared up," Smith said. "I was hoping it would stay fair, but it didn't."
Chattanooga starting pitcher Allen Webster allowed one hit in five innings but gave up three runs. Webster dropped to 1-6 with a 5.68 ERA.
"He went out and threw five innings and gave up one hit," pitching coach Chuck Crim said. "That shows you how good his stuff is. If we can just keep him away from the walks. The game hasn't been real kind to him, but he's probably got the best stuff in the whole league."
Ethan Martin (6-1, 2.92 ERA) is scheduled to start today's 11:15 game for the Lookouts, with Brandon Maurer (3-1, 4.01) scheduled for the Generals.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.