The Storm Chasers rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the Fresno Grizzlies, but couldn’t get the go-ahead run across in a 4-3 loss Tuesday night at Werner Park. Brett Pill’s bases-loaded dribbler wasn’t hit hard enough to record a double play or a force at home, pushing across the winning run in the 10th inning.
The Chasers’ big rally in the eighth began on a leadoff triple by Jarrod Dyson, who robbed Brandon Crawford of what would have been his second home run of the ballgame in the top half of the inning. Dyson scored on an RBI single by David Lough to make it 3-1 in favor of the visitors, and Lorenzo Cain followed with a double to put runners on second and third with nobody out.
First baseman Clint Robinson chased reliever Dan Otero with a game-tying, two-run double to the gap in right center, and Robinson moved up to third on a base-hit by Yamaico Navarro – with Navarro taking second on the throw to the plate. But after Waldis Joaquin came on to pitch, Irving Falu, Joaquin Arias and Cody Clark were unable to come through with a sacrifice fly or base hit to bring in the fourth and possibly deciding run.
Joaquin (2-1) ended up the winning pitcher as he stranded his Otero’s inherited runners in the eighth and then stranded three of his own in the ninth. The ninth ended as Navarro’s squib shot toward first base was converted into a 3-1 putout at the bag, keeping the Storm Chasers out of the win column.
Former Fresno Grizzly Kevin Pucetas (5-6) took the loss in relief, working his way through the eighth and ninth before allowing a run in the 10th. Vin Mazzaro started the ballgame, leaving in a 3-0 hole after seven innings. He allowed eight hits, three walks and struck out five.
With Memphis winning their third in a row against Colorado Springs, the Storm Chasers (64-53) find themselves up just four games in the American Conference Northern Division with 26 to play, though they do own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Redbirds (60-57).