February 10, 2016

Rare loss for Storm Chasers against Iowa

Alfredo Amezaga delivered the game-winning single with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift Iowa to a 5-4 decision over Omaha Friday night in the middle of a five-game set at Principal Park. The Storm Chasers, playing without Wil Myers, David Lough, Jake Odorizzi and scheduled starter Will Smith, fell to 56-33 and had their seven-game win streak over the Cubs snapped.

Tommy Hottovy had worked two scoreless innings before walking Welington Castillo to open the decisive frame. Blake Lalli followed with a base hit to push Castillo to second base before Matt Tolbert struck out trying to bunt the runners along and Diory Hernandez popped out. Amezaga then singled over the head of Derrick Robinson in center field to chase home Castillo with the winning run and hand Hottovy his first loss of the season.

Castillo’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth put the Cubs in the lead, at 4-3, for the first time in the series, though it was short-lived. The run was a bit controversial as an error on Omaha shortstop Tony Abreu wiped out the possibility of an inning-ending double play and gave the Iowa catcher a chance to bat with the bases loaded and one out. The Chasers responded in the ninth against Michael Bowden with a one-out home run by Johnny Giavotella that evened the score and gave the second baseman 10 runs batted in over his last four games. Despite blowing the save, Bowden grabbed the win with three innings of work during which he allowed a run on two hits.

The visitors opened the scoring for a fourth consecutive game with three runs in the second inning on an RBI hit by Anthony Seratelli and a two-run, bases loaded single by Kevin Kouzmanoff against Iowa starter Casey Coleman. The Cubs got a run back in the home half on a base hit by Blake DeWitt that plated Josh Vitters, who drew a lead off walk and stole second base.

Coleman lasted only three frames, as he had been pitching in relief in the big leagues, and was charged with three runs on four hits while walking two and striking out three. Meanwhile, Roman Colon, making a spot start for Omaha, was outstanding, yielding a lone run on a pair of hits over five frames. He walked one and struck out one and left with a 3-1 lead before Blaine Hardy ran into some trouble in the sixth.

Adrian Cardenas singled in a run with two outs and moved to third on a Vitters double before the threat ended when DeWitt was called out on strikes. However, the lead vanished in the seventh when Castillo led off with an opposite-field homer to right to even the score at three.

The series continues Saturday night with Omaha’s starter still to be determined while Iowa will send left-hander Chris Rusin to the hill.

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