Lorenzo Cain’s two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 4-4 tie, sending the Chasers to a 6-4 victory and a Werner Park-record crowd of 8,020 home happy Friday night. The win propelled Omaha to a six-game lead over the Iowa Cubs entering their four-game series in Des Moines beginning Saturday night.
The eighth-inning rally started quietly, as Clint Robinson flied out to center and Kila Ka’aihue worked a full-count walk. Manager Mike Jirschele sent Paulo Orlando in to pinch run at first hoping that Cain could find a gap, but instead the centerfielder launched the first pitch he saw over the wall in deep left, giving the Storm Chasers the lead for good. It was Cain’s fourth long ball of the season.
With Cain’s home run, reliever Jeremy Jeffress (1-1) earned his first victory in a Storm Chasers uniform. Jeffress struck out four batters in 1.2 innings of work, including the final two with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, making Cain’s heroics possible. Jeffress and Cain were both key pieces of this offseason’s Zack Greinke trade with the Milwaukee organization.
The Storm Chasers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead two batters into the game. Jarrod Dyson walked to open the bottom of the first, and Johnny Giavotella ripped an RBI double to right, though he was thrown out at third on the play trying to stretch it into a triple. Giavotella went 2-for-4 on the night, raising his batting average to .300 on the year.
Omaha also got two runs batted in from backup catcher Cody Clark, who had spent the entire year on the disabled list prior to the trade of Lucas May on June 1. Clark ripped a solo home run to open the bottom of the second to make it 2-2, and later tied the game at 4-4 in the sixth when his slow roller to short resulted in an infield base hit and an RBI. Clint Robinson also added an RBI single.
As they had been doing all series long, New Orleans hit two home runs to produce their four runs. Third baseman Matt Dominguez, coming off a 4-for-4, two homer night Thursday, put the Zephyrs on the board with a two-run shot off Omaha starter Mike Montgomery in the second. Mike Cervenak added a two-run homer in the fifth, putting the Zephyrs in front 4-2 at the time. Montgomery finished his evening after 6.1 innings, allowing four runs on three hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Both home runs immediately followed bases on balls.
The Chasers will return to Werner Park on Thursday, June 9 when the Oklahoma City RedHawks visit Omaha for the second time this season.