Chattanooga-It's not often that a pitcher gets two chances to preserve a win in the same game. Unfortunately for Chattanooga Lookouts reliever Eric Eadington, an even more rare occurrance is when that pitcher fails both times.
But what's rarer still? Blowing two leads and still somehow staggering away with a win. That's exactly what Eadington and the Lookouts did Wednesday afternoon in their first Business Day Special, outlasting the Birmingham Barons, 5-4, on Miguel Rojas' squeeze bunt in the bottom of the ninth.
The Lookouts (5-8) take a two-games-to-one lead in the series, which will continue tonight at AT&T Field with a 7:15 first pitch.
Eadington, who did not have a win or a save this season, but who saved 26 games a season ago, was initially called on in the eighth by manager Jody Reed to protect the fragile one-run lead that Lookouts starter Andres Santiago had nursed successfully since the third inning, when Joc Peterson connected on the first of two two-run homers Wednesday. The first came off Barons starter Erik Johnson, he of the 0.77 ERA, but would be all the home team could generate in Johnson's 6.2 innings of work.
Birmingham scored once in the fourth on a Dan Black RBI single, but that's how it still stood entering the eighth. Eadington, a hard-throwing lefty, came on with the bases loaded and one out in back of Hector Nelo, who struggled again Wednesday in relief. Eadington got the lefty on a strikeout before walking Brandon Peters to force in the tying run.
Eadington avoided further trouble in the eighth and was rewarded when Peterson again lauched a rocket over the family pavilion for a 4-2 Lookouts lead and enabling Eadington to go back out in the ninth with a new lease on life. But history repeated itself at the reliever's expense in the top of the ninth when Birmingam Daniel Wagner walked to lead off the inning and Michael Early followed with his first home run of the season. Eadington would walk the next hitter, but Reed stuck with him to finish the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, tied 4-4, the Lookouts struck first on a Bobby Coyle one-out double, followed by a Jan Vazquez single and a 90-foot advancement to second on defensive indifference. At that point, Rojas dropped down the perfect bunt and Eadington (1-0) and the Lookouts ended the day a winner.
Salvador Sanchez (1-1), the second of three Birmingham pitchers, suffered the loss for the Barons.
Among the Lookouts, Pederson now has a club-leading five home runs and is hitting .308 following his three-hit game while Jan Vazquez picked up two hits in his 2013 season debut.