Clint Robinson drilled a go-ahead, two-run double as part of a three-run bottom of the eighth inning, leading the Omaha Storm Chasers past the Albuquerque Isotopes 6-4 Wednesday night at Werner Park. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Omaha and helped the Chasers improve their lead to four games over Memphis in the American Conference Northern Division.
With one out in the eighth and the Storm Chasers trailing 4-3, David Lough lined an opposite-field single off eventual losing pitcher Roy Corcoran (0-1). After Lorenzo Cain went the other way to right with a base hit, Robinson plated both with a double off the base of the wall in left, giving the Storm Chasers their first lead since the second inning. With Robinson advancing to third on the unsuccessful throw to the plate, it set up Kila Ka’aihue’s sacrifice fly to center to make it 6-4 Omaha.
Despite putting two runners on base in the ninth, Jesse Chavez struck out the side to earn his 12th save of the season and preserve the win for Brandon Sisk (3-1). Sisk struck out five batters in two innings of work, giving the bullpen eight punch-outs in three scoreless innings of relief.
Righthander Jeff Suppan went the first six innings for Omaha, allowing four runs on eight hits. He walked three, struck out two, and allowed a pair of home runs to account for all the Albuquerque scoring on the night. Joe Becker’s three-run shot in the top of the second gave the Isotopes a 3-1 lead following a Cain home run for the Chasers in the bottom of the first, and Jay Gibbons’ solo shot extended the lead to 4-1 in the fifth. For Cain, it was his career-best 12th long ball of the year.
Johnny Giavotella sliced into the Isotopes’ 4-1 lead with an RBI triple in the bottom half of the fifth, scoring Jarrod Dyson from first. It was Giavotella’s 51st extra-base hit of the season. Giavotella would come in to score on a wild pitch by Albuquerque starter John Ely, trimming the lead to 4-3 and leading to the game’s thrilling conclusion.
Prior to the game, the Kansas City Royals announced a pair of roster moves that have infused the Storm Chasers with more young talent. Salvador Perez, a standout catcher, and Kelvin Herrera, a hard-throwing righthander, were in uniform Wednesday night and could play vital roles down the stretch for the first-place Storm Chasers. Replacing them at Double-A Northwest Arkansas are Manny Pina and Mario Santiago. Perez doubled in four trips to the plate and picked off a runner at first in his Triple-A debut.
The Chasers and ‘Topes will reunite for their penultimate meeting of the 2011 season Thursday night at Werner Park, with the Pacific Coast League’s top two pitchers facing off. Omaha’s Luis Mendoza (7-3, 2.51) will oppose Albuquerque’s Dana Eveland (10-5, 3.51) in a battle between the league’s top ERA man and the league’s winningest pitcher. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.