As soon as Round Rock started to heat up, it was too late.
The Express took until the fifth inning to get their first hit of the game and lost the series finale to the Memphis Redbirds 8-3 Tuesday night at Dell Diamond. Round Rock dropped three of four games in the series.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to tip your hat to the pitcher,” Express first baseman Ronald Guzman said. “It felt like I only had one good pitch to hit in my first two at-bats. He did a great job today. We tried to get to the relievers, but it was too late.”
Making his first start of the season out of the bullpen, Jimmy Reyes (2-2, 2.12 ERA) had his longest outing of the year, lasting four innings and allowing one run on three hits with two strikeouts.
Memphis starter Mike Mayers was dominant in seven innings, giving up no runs on just two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
After winning the first game of the series 7-3 on Saturday night, Round Rock dropped the second game 7-3 on Sunday afternoon and fell in the third game of the series 5-4 on Monday night.
The Express are 10-9 in the month of June and sit 10 and a half games behind the Redbirds for the PCL American Southern Division lead and two and a half games behind the Nashville Sounds for second place.
“We had the right mentality,” Guzman, who finished the game 2-for-4 with one RBI, said. “Even though we were losing, we never gave up. We tried to fight back until the end and you’ve got to have the same mentality no matter the score or if we face another pitcher like that.”
After a single and back-to-back walks in the second inning, Memphis struck first with a single to shallow left field. Travis Snider made a beautiful throw from the outfield to prevent a second run from scoring and end the top half of the inning.
It took until the fifth inning for the Round Rock to get its first hit of the game. Ryan Rua made an impressive diving catch to end the top half of the inning before smacking a one-out double in the fifth. Snider got the second hit of the game one batter later, but the Express stranded both runners.
“Defense is an attitude,” Guzman said. “We tried to stay in the game even though they got a couple of runs. We were trying to battle to get back in the game. We did what we were supposed to do defensively.”
The first six Memphis batters recorded a hit in the sixth inning starting with a solo home run. The Redbirds finished the inning with eight baserunners, extended their lead to 5-0, and chased newly recalled reliever Jaye Chapman after just one inning of work.
The Redbirds continued their offensive assault in the eighth inning with their second solo home run of the game and sixth long ball of the series and tacked on two more runs with back-to-back singles to center field.
The Express have given up 17 home runs in June and 88 on the year, the second-most in the PCL.
Guzman started a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth when his single drove in Brett Nicholas to cut the lead to five runs. But Snider grounded out in the next at-bat to end any chance at a comeback.
Round Rock has Wednesday off after playing eight games in eight days. The Express return to action Thursday at 7:05 p.m. when the Iowa Cubs come to town for a four-game series. They then go on the road to play four games at the Nashville Sounds beginning June 26.
“Tomorrow I’m just going to play PS4 and sleep,” Guzman said. “Most of the off days we have are travel days so I’m just going to try to get rest. It’s a long season and you’ve got to have your body ready for the next day.”