Smokies win sixth straight, blank Jackson 5-0

JACKSON, Tenn. (release) -- The Tennessee Smokies (16-8, 50-43) defeated the Jackson Generals (10-14, 39-51) 5-0 Saturday evening to extend their winning streak to a season-high of six games. The win marked a ninth straight victory over Jackson, dating back to June 24th when Tennessee won 5-1.

Kyle Hendricks (9-3, 2.03) continued his dominance of Jackson as the North Division All-Star starter went five innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four batters on 50 total pitches. Hendricks had not allowed Jackson to score a run against him this season prior to Saturday evening and came into the contest with a 3-0 record against the Generals.

Tennessee jumped all over Generals starter James Gilheeny (3-4, 3.84) in the top of the first. Javier Baez extended his hitting streak to four games with a mammoth two-run homer to straightaway center field, giving the Smokies an initial 2-0 advantage. Third baseman Christian Villanueva came to the plate two batters later and hit his twelfth home run of the season, this one a solo shot over the left field fence to extend the Tennessee edge to 3-0.

GIlheeny, who allowed six earned runs in his last outing versus Tennessee on June 26th, continued to struggle in the top of the third. With one out and the bases empty, John Andreoli launched a 1-1 pitch over the green monster in left field for his first home run with the Smokies, giving the Tennessee a 4-0 advantage. The solo shot was the third home run off Gilheeny in the game and Tennessee’s fifth home run off the lefty this season.

The Smokies added another run in the top of the seventh inning when Andreoli grounded into a fielder’s choice to score second baseman Nate Samson and extend the lead to 5-0.

Gilheeny lasted seven innings despite his early struggles, giving up 12 hits and five earned runs on 102 pitches.

Carlos Gutierrez came on in relief of Hendricks in the sixth inning, making his second appearance with Tennessee. The right-hander went one and two-thirds scoreless innings and allowed one hit, but left with two outs in the seventh due to injury. The former 2008 first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder last July and had made just five appearances prior to Saturday’s game.

Tennessee wraps up its seven-game series against Jackson Sunday evening, with first pitch from the Ballpark at Jackson coming at 7:05 p.m. ET. A.J. Morris (3-0, 3.54), making his eighth start, gets the call for Tennesee while Trevor Miller (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start with the Generals since being promoted from Class-A High Desert.

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