Augusta GreenJackets manager Dave Machemer accepted a birthday cake, song and cheers from fans after Monday night's game at Lake Olmstead Stadium. He just wished he could have given the fans a win.
"The fans here are great. They've been good to me for two years now," the 59-year-old said. "You always want to win on your birthday, but we just didn't hit the ball tonight."
All the momentum from a series win on the road, a two-game lead in the standings and a seven-game winning streak at home did little for the GreenJackets in the 3-1 loss to Rome. Augusta opened up an eight-day stretch of home games with little offensive power, managing just two hits.
Rome starter Brett DeVall (2-2) held Augusta to one unearned run over six innings, while reliever David Hale dominated Augusta's bats. Hale struck out seven of the 11 batters he faced for three hitless innings of work and his second save of the season.
After the GreenJackets took an early lead in the fourth inning, Rome first baseman Jace Whitmer reversed a one-run game with a two-out, two-RBI triple in the top of the seventh inning.
GreenJackets starter Kyle Vazquez (4-2) shut out the Braves through six innings but surrendered a single, double and Whitmer's triple in the seventh to blow the lead.
Rome (18-26) added a run in the eighth when right fielder Cory Harrilchak walked, stole second and third and scored when third baseman Chris Dominguez failed to cover third base and catcher Tommy Joseph's throw bounced into left field.
Rome committed three errors in the fourth inning, when Augusta scored its lone run. The GreenJackets (28-17) left the runner at third base, one of six runners they left stranded.
GreenJackets reliever Jose Casilla, making his first appearance since coming off the disabled list Sunday, allowed an unearned run in the eighth but retired three of the four batters he faced.
"It was his first time back, and he did fine," Machemer said. "We had good pitching, we just didn't have the hitting to back it up."