From the Nashville Sounds
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Nashville Sounds blanked the Iowa Cubs 6-0 Sunday afternoon to clinch the four-game set. Paul Blackburn had his sinkerball working all afternoon for the Sounds en route to seven shutout innings.
Blackburn kept the ball down all afternoon long as he induced 15 ground balls compared to two flyouts to go along with four punch outs en route to seven shutout innings. He was highly efficient as well, needing just 83 pitches to get through the seven innings. The right-hander sat down 14 straight I-Cubs from the third inning to the seventh. The streak was broken when Jaimer Candelario blooped a single into shallow center field with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Blackburn surrendered just a pair of singles in his outing.
Blackburn found himself in a pinch in the opening inning with the bases loaded and one out but he induced a ground ball from Victor Caratini. Shortstop Melvin Mercedes and second baseman Joey Wendle turned a slick double play to end the threat and keep the I-Cubs off the scoreboard.
Iowa starter, Williams Perez, cruised through the first three innings as he faced the minimum despite a pair of walks. Jaycob Brugman recorded the first Sounds hit of the game in the fourth inning when he hit a little flare for a double down the left field line. Nashville would not get another hit until the sixth when Mercedes singled to lead off the inning. Mercedes came around to score when Matt Chapman laced a double into the alley in right-center field to break the deadlock.
Nashville added a run in the seventh as they loaded the bases with no outs. Mercedes flied out to deep center field to bring home Ryan Lavarnway and double the Sounds lead. Then in the eighth inning, they broke the game open by posting a three-spot on the scoreboard. Lavarnway ripped a double to left center to score Jaff Decker to make it 3-0. Matt McBride then drilled his second home run of the season to extend the Sounds lead to 5-0. In the ninth inning, Chapman put an exclamation point on the Sounds victory with a solo blast of his own.
For the Sounds pitching staff it was the sixth shutout of the season.
The Sounds open up a four-game series on Monday against the Omaha Storm Chasers. Right-hander Daniel Gossett (3-2, 3.19) starts for Nashville against right-hander Josh Staumont (3-4, 3.88) for Omaha. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.