Af­ter Red­birds’ grand slam, Ex­press smack a speedy re­ply

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Michael Sher­field

ROUND ROCK — It won’t go down as a grand slam, but Collin DeLome and the Ex­press won’t care much.

Off DeLome’s bat in the bot­tom of the sev­enth in­ning, the ball seemed des­tined for the left-cen­ter field bullpen, which would have been a four-run shot to match the one Mem­phis’ Allen Craig hit ear­lier in the in­ning to pull the Red­birds within 7-6. But DeLome’s drive dipped and swerved and crashed off the top of the wall, for a three-run dou­ble.

“I’ll take it,” DeLome said with a smile. “I got to watch (Brian) Bo­gu­se­vic hit­ting be­fore me, and I saw (Mem­phis pitcher Renyel Pinto) was throw­ing a lot of fast­balls. My ap­proach was to get a fast­ball and try to drive it.”

As Drew Locke raced home from first base on DeLome’s hit, just ahead of the throw, he kicked the ball out of catcher Matt Pag­nozzi’s hand and down the first base line. DeLome — just back from a lengthy span on the dis­abled list af­ter a home plate col­li­sion in May — didn’t need to bowl any­one over this time, scor­ing com­fort­ably to re­store Round Rock’s big lead.

“It’s nice to show we can get it right back,” DeLome said. “It’s all about mo­men­tum.”

The Ex­press held on for a 11-6 vic­tory, break­ing a se­v­engame los­ing streak that fea­tured three con­sec­u­tive onerun losses to the Red­birds.

Af­ter a month that’s largely been filled with missed op­por­tu­ni­ties and stranded baserun­ners, the Ex­press of­fense fi­nally made its chances count. Round Rock took a first-in­ning lead and scored in dou­ble dig­its for the first time since a May 18 loss to Colorado, 11-10.

The Ex­press gave starter Andy Van Hekken a 7-0 lead as the lanky lefty cruised through his first six in­nings. Van Hekken got into trou­ble in the sev­enth, al­low­ing two runs and leav­ing the game with the bases loaded and two outs.

Yor­man Bazardo then al­lowed Craig’s grand slam to let Mem­phis back in the game.

Af­ter DeLome’s clutch hit, Bazardo and T.J. Bur­ton fin­ished off Mem­phis with score­less eighth and ninth in­nings.

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