METAIRIE, La. – Patrick Wisdom’s two-out solo home run in the top of the 13th inning lifted the Memphis Redbirds past New Orleans, 5-4 on Opening Night and spoiling the debut of the Baby Cakes.
After Raudel Lazo quickly retired the first two batters in the 13th, Wisdom tucked an 0-2 fastball inside the left field foul pole for the game’s first run since the sixth inning.
Ryan Sherriff worked around a leadoff single by Tomas Telis in the bottom of the frame to record the save.
The Redbirds bookended the game with home runs, as Harrison Bader drilled the second offering from Justin Nicolino over the right field fence.
Memphis starter Luke Weaver helped his cause with a leadoff double in the third and scored on Tommy Pham’s single to increase the Redbirds’ lead to 2-0, but New Orleans answered with the next three runs to jump in front against reliever Kurt Heyer.
A two-out single by Destin Hood with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third got the ‘Cakes on the board.
New Orleans tacked on two more runs an inning later. Matt Juengel led off with a triple and raced home on a single by Steve Lombardozzi, and Matt den Dekker delivered a two-out RBI single against Mark Montgomery for a 3-2 lead.
Javy Guerra relieved Nicolino in the sixth, and the Redbirds struck for a pair of runs to regain the lead. An error by Lombardozzi put Pham in scoring position, and Wisdom stroked a game-tying double into the left field corner. Hood started a relay to throw out Luke Voit at the plate on the play to temporarily keep the score even, but a wild pitch by Guerra permitted Wisdom to trot home.
The ‘Cakes capitalized on sloppy defense to tie the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth. Peter Mooney’s single to right was misplayed by Pham for a two-base error, and the throw back to the infield skipped away to allow Mooney to come all the way around to score on the play.
Both bullpens kept the game even for the next six innings, though each team had scoring opportunities. The Redbirds had four runners caught stealing, while the Baby Cakes narrowly missed a walk-off hit in the 11th when Lombardozzi’s slicing liner to left with two outs and two on was snagged by a diving Todd Cunningham to end the threat.
Nicolino made his third straight Opening Day start for New Orleans, becoming the first pitcher in franchise history to do so, and scattered two runs and five hits across five innings.
Drew Steckenrider, Kelvin Marte and Clayton Mortensen each chipped in two scoreless innings of relief before Lazo (0-1) allowed the home run to Wisdom.
Josh Lucas (1-0) got the win for Memphis. Weaver, the Cardinals’ third-rated prospect, was removed after allowing one hit in two scoreless innings.
J.T. Riddle had three of the 12 hits for the Baby Cakes, who went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
The Baby Cakes and Redbirds resume the season-opening five-game series on Friday at 7 p.m.