Thanks in part to the unsung duo of Red Patterson and Steven Ames, the Chattanooga Lookouts are where they haven't been all season.
The Lookouts won their second-half opener Thursday night at AT&T Field, topping the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 3-2. Chattanooga starting pitcher Allen Webster won for just the second time this season after yielding two runs in six innings, but he needed support from Patterson and Ames, who worked scoreless seventh and eighth innings before turning things over to closer Logan Bawcom.
Patterson and Ames competed in Tuesday night's Southern League All-Star Game but were not originally invited, benefiting instead from promotions and injuries to other players who had been tabbed.
"They were very deserving and have done the job all year," Lookouts pitching coach Chuck Crim said. "It's pretty much starters and closers that get those invitations, and it's tough when you're a setup guy or a middle-inning guy. I think they pitched their way onto that all-star team."
Patterson loaded the bases in the seventh Thursday before working out of trouble and lowering his earned run average to 2.03. Ames had a 1-2-3 eighth with two strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 2.51, and was still thrilled about his all-star appearance.
"That was my first one in the minor leagues, and it was awesome," Ames said. "You're playing with guys you see all the time, but you don't really know them, and being on the same team and talking with them was a cool experience."
Thursday's game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when Jake Lemmerman's two-out double to center field scored Kyle Russell from first base and Matt Wallach followed with a single to center to make it 2-0. The Lookouts led 2-1 before the teams exchanged runs via wild pitches, with Chattanooga's Nick Buss scoring off Tim Crabbe in the fifth and Andrew Means doing the same at the expense of Webster in the sixth.
"It's nice after three days off to get things going and start the second half with a win," Lookouts manager Carlos Subero said. "Hopefully we'll have a good series."
In the opening series of the first half, Chattanooga lost two straight to Tennessee and four of five overall.
Ethan Martin (6-3, 3.35 ERA) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Tony Cingrani (1-1, 2.55) scheduled for the Blue Wahoos. Lookouts officials are expecting tonight's game to be sold out before the ceremonial first pitch by Scotty McCreery, who won the 10th season of "American Idol."
Reed in Futures Game
Lookouts pitcher Chris Reed has been named to the United States roster for the 14th annual Futures Game, which will be held in Kansas City on July 8. Reed has started three games for Chattanooga since his June 4 promotion, yielding two runs in nine innings and not factoring into any decisions.
The 22-year-old left-hander was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers last year.