Redbirds, Motte look strong in easy win

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Memphis, TN-The Memphis Redbirds cruised to a 14-3 beatdown of the visiting Round Rock Express in the finale of a four-game series in front of 8,833 fans on Tuesday afternoon at AutoZone Park.

Memphis took three of four from Round Rock and outscored the Express by a 34-8 margin in the series. The 14 runs marked the Redbirds’ sixth double-digit output of the season and second of the four-game set.

The top three hitters in the Redbirds lineup occupied by Kolten Wong, Randal Grichuk, and Oscar Taveras went a combined 10-for-14 with two home runs, eight RBIs, and eight runs scored.

Wong (4-for-5) homered and drove in four while producing the club’s first four-hit effort this season. Grichuk (3-for-5) hit a home run for the second time in three games. Taveras (3-for-4) doubled and drove in two to increase his team-leading RBI count to 29.

Memphis native and St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Jason Motte, currently on a rehabilitation assignment while recovering from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow, made his first outing for the Redbirds after four rehab appearances at Double-A Springfield.

Motte hurled 14 pitches (10 for strikes) for a scoreless seventh inning, working around a one-out pop fly single that was lost in the sun by third baseman Jermaine Curtis. The right-hander got Daniel Robertson to ground out to short on one pitch, induced a groundout to first base, and finished with a deep fly out to right.

Grichuk’s solo homer put the Redbirds on the board in the bottom of the first. The long ball that landed into the visiting Round Rock bullpen was the slugger’s fifth of the season and second in three games.

In the third, Memphis extended its lead to 3-0 on an Taveras two-run double. With Wong and Grichuk aboard on a pair of singles, the 21-year-old Taveras missed a home run by a matter of 10 feet, smoking a two-bagger off the right field wall.

Wong’s three-run blast in the fourth extended the Memphis lead to 6-0, his second home run of the season.

After sitting down a stretch of 13 in a row, Redbirds starter Zach Petrick got into some trouble in the fifth by allowing five straight two-out hits that chased him from the game. After a pair of singles, Robertson lined a two-run triple, followed by two more singles. Nick Greenwood (1-2) would escape the jam and strand two inherited runners with an inning-ending strikeout to be crowned winner.

The Memphis offense went back to work in the fifth with two hits with the bases loaded. Audry Perez (2-for-5, 3 RBIs) brought home the first two runs on an opposite-field single, followed by Wong roping a base hit to left with the bases juiced again.

The Redbirds plated five in the eighth against Chad Bell to conclude its scoring on the afternoon, all coming run-scoring singles by Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty (1-4, RBI, 2 R, BB) Robinson, and Perez.

Scott Richmond (0-2) was touched for nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits and a pair of walks in four plus innings for the loss.