Mario Alvarez pitched six scoreless innings and the Chattanooga Lookouts had everything going their way for most of Thursday night's game at AT&T Field. But the Mississippi Braves erupted in the final two innings and beat the Lookouts 11-5.
Capitalizing on the Braves' three errors, three wild pitches and other gaffes, the Lookouts (15-19) jumped out to a 5-0 lead. But it didn't last after Alvarez left the game. The bullpen allowed nine hits, 11 runs and walked six.
"It was a good job by Mario," Lookouts manager Carlos Subero said. "When you've got a five-run lead going into the eighth, you hate to lose it. That's going to disappoint anybody."
Alvarez gave up four hits, struck out four and walked three in six shutout innings. Cole St. Clair pitched a scoreless seventh inning and the Lookouts appeared to be rolling. But everything changed in the eighth.
Jesus Rodriguez took over on the mound but didn't last long. The first two batters reached base and then the Braves' Cody Johnson blasted a home run, his eighth of the season, well beyond the fence in right field to make it 5-3.
It was a moment of redemption for the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Johnson, who struck out looking with the bases loaded in the sixth.
"It felt good ... It got us started and got us going," Johnson said.
Subero brought in the Lookouts' third pitcher of the inning, Eric Krebs, to face Conception Rodriguez with the bases loaded. After two balls away, Krebs threw Rodriguez a strike and he drilled it off the wall in center field, bringing in three runs to put the Braves (17-17) up 6-5.
The Braves added five runs in the top of the ninth to turn what once looked like a Lookouts win into a laugher the other way. Rodriguez finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs, Mauro Gomez was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and Johnson was 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
Five Lookouts had two hits each, including Trayvon Robinson, who also had two RBIs and a run scored.
Up 1-0 heading into the fifth, the Lookouts started teeing off on starter Scott Diamond. Dee Gordon hit a one-out single, Jaime Pedroza hit a double off the wall in right to put runners at third and second, and Robinson belted a pitch high off the wall in left, scoring two runs.
Eddy Perez scored to make it 4-0: he singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on a throwing error. Perez made it 5-0 in the seventh inning with an RBI double to right.
Jesus Castillo (2-2, 1.83 ERA) is the Lookouts' scheduled starting pitcher for tonight's 7:15 game, with Eric Cordier (1-3, 4.41) scheduled for the Braves.