The Omaha Storm Chasers and Memphis Redbirds split a doubleheader Monday afternoon at Werner Park, with the Chasers (42-37) taking game one 2-1 and Memphis (41-37) rallying to win game two 5-2. The seven-inning contests were played in front of 6,917 fans, the most-ever to watch day baseball at Werner Park.
Game one was a 2-1 victory for the Storm Chasers, backed by yet another solid outing from veteran Jeff Suppan. The 36-year-old righthander improved his record to 7-4 on the season, with wins in each of his past three starts and 10-consecutive outings without a defeat. Jesse Chavez came on with a runner on in the seventh, retiring all three batters he faced to earn his ninth save.
Kila Ka’aihue got the Omaha on the board with a sacrifice fly in the first, and Manny Pina added a solo home run in the second, his third long ball of the year. Pina later doubled and walked, improving his on-base percentage to .348 in 41 games played.
In game two, Omaha took command early once again, only to falter late and see their lead over the Redbirds slip back to just one half-game in the American Conference Northern Division. Irving Falu’s RBI single in the third and Mike Aviles’ run-scoring base hit in the fifth gave the Chasers a 2-0 lead and brought them to within six outs of victory, but Nick Stavinoha let the Memphis charge.
With two on and none out in the top of the sixth, Stavinoha homered off Robinson Tejeda’s 1-2 pitch, for a three-run home run. Two batters later Steven Hill launched a solo blast of his own, and suddenly the Redbirds had a 4-2 lead. They would add one more tally off Everett Teaford in the seventh, putting the game out of reach and handing the Storm Chasers with their 23rd “fall-from-ahead” loss of the 2011 season.