(Game summary courtesy of Tennessee Smokies) In Ben Zobrist’s first rehab appearance with the Tennessee Smokies (52-77, 19-41), the offense ignited an 8-2 win over the Jackson Generals (73-54, 34-23) at the Ballpark at Jackson on Sunday night. Zobrist went 1-for-2 at the plate with three walks and two runs.
Pitchers from both dugouts dealt three scoreless innings to open the game, but ultimately Jackson broke the deadlock in the fourth. Daulton Varsho led off with a double and scored from a two-out RBI single from Ramon Hernandez to put the Generals ahead 1-0.
The two-time World Series champion and WS MVP in 2016 for the Cubs sparked the Smokies offense with a double in the sixth. Next, Cubs No. 1 prospect Nico Hoerner tied the game with a single to left field scoring Zobrist. Vimael Machin and Jared Young both added extra base hits off RHP Josh Green (L, 2-3) to run the score to 3-1.
Smokies starter RHP Erick Leal (W, 3-4) dealt six innings in a quality start giving up a run on four hits with four strikeouts.
In the seventh, Jackson cut the deficit to one on an RBI-double from Galli Cribbs Jr.
The Smokies added five runs in the top of the ninth to secure the victory. Hoerner and Machin added RBI-doubles in the offense explosion. Hoerner finished the night 2-for-5 with two RBIs, while Machin drove in two runs of his own. Smokies RHP Oscar De La Cruz (S, 1) offered no life for the Generals in the bottom of the ninth to earn the first save of his seven-year career.
The Smokies return to Kodak to begin their final home series of the season. RHP Chih-Wei Hu (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start with the Smokies, while the Birmingham Barons give the ball to RHP Lincoln Henzman (4-6, 5.78) for a 7:00 pm EDT first pitch at Smokies Stadium.