Fresh off being tabbed Southern League Hitter of the Week, Justin Bour homered and drove in three runs but the Tennessee Smokies (20-24 second half, 55-59 overall) fell to the Jackson Generals, 7-6, on Monday night in game four of a five-game series at Pringles Park. The Smokies have dropped three straight games - all by one run.
Bour finished 2-for-4, turning in his fourth straight multi-hit performance while bringing his league-leading RBI total to 95 - six more than any other Southern League hitter.
With Taijuan Walker on the mound for Jackson (24-19, 66-47), the Smokies drew first blood in the top of the second when Nelson Perez led off with a double and scored on a Matt Cerda base hit to make it 1-0. The Generals countered in the bottom of the frame, tying the contest, 1-1, thanks to a walk, a balk, and Johermyn Chavez RBI single.
In a major league rehab start for Tennessee, Lendy Castillo worked two innings and allowed one run on one hit with two strikeouts. Castillo gave way to Dae-Eun Rhee, who retired the side in order in the third before running into trouble in the bottom of fourth. With one out in the fourth, Rich Poythress connected on a two-run homer to left to give the Generals a 3-1 edge. An RBI single by Leury Bonilla made it 4-1 before Francisco Martinez singled home two more runs to extend Jackson's lead to 6-1.
In the top of the fifth, Bour launched a three-run homer to left following a Matt Szczur single and a Logan Watkins walk to cut Tennessee's deficit to 6-4. Jackson countered with a run in the bottom of the frame on a solo home run by Stefen Romero to make it a 7-4 contest.
Jackson closer Logan Bawcom entered in the top of the ninth and immediately walked Watkins before Junior Lake crushed a two-run homer to left to pull the Smokies within one at 7-6. Mike Burgess singled with two outs and Nate Samson followed with a walk to put the tying and go-ahead runs on base, but Bawcom escaped the jam to notch his 14th save of the season.
Jandy Sena (2-2) fired 1.2 scoreless innings to earn the win in relief while Rhee (7-6) took the loss after getting tagged for six runs on six hits over five innings of work in his first relief appearance of the season. Walker, who allowed one run in four innings on the mound for Jackson, did not factor in the decision.
The Smokies and Generals meet for the final time in the regular season on Tuesday night at 8:05 p.m. ET at Pringles Park when Tennessee sends right-hander Jake Brigham (0-1, 6.00 ERA) to the mound for his second start with the Smokies since being acquired by the Cubs from the Rangers as part of the Geovany Soto trade last week. Jackson will counter with southpaw James Paxton (6-3, 3.09 ERA), who MLB.com ranks as the Mariners' fourth-best prospect.
GAME NOTES: The Smokies are 7-16 against the Generals this season and have dropped six of their last seven meetings with Jackson... Justin Bour is on pace for 116 RBIs; the Smokies franchise record is 114, set by Tim Giles in 1999.