Round Rock catcher Taylor Teagarden hit two solo home runs, leading the Express past the Storm Chasers 3-2 Tuesday night at Werner Park. The good news is the Albuquerque Isotopes beat the Memphis Redbirds 7-3 to reduce the Storm Chasers’ Magic Number to two to clinch the American Conference Northern Division, with six games remaining.
Omaha got off to a slow start, falling behind in the top of the second after running themselves out of the first. With one out, Teagarden homered on a 3-0 delivery from starting and losing pitcher Mike Montgomery (5-10) out of the yard, his first of two solo shots on the night. Montgomery then walked No. 9 hitter Guilder Rodriguez, and one out later Andres Blanco ripped an RBI double to the gap in left-center to make it 2-0 in favor of the Express.
The Chasers mounted a rally in the fourth, but even as they scored they suffered a baserunning miscue. After Lance Zawadzki and Irving Falu pulled off a double-steal to put runners on second and third with one out, Yamaico Navarro chopped a ball toward short. Zawadzki came home easily on the play, but Falu ran into an out at third to take himself out of scoring position.
Montgomery would only complete one out in the fifth, as the 22-year-old left-hander ran his pitch count to 93 before giving way to Robinson Tejeda. Tejeda cruised through his 2.2 innings, allowing Teagarden’s second long ball of the game, his fifth this year against Omaha and 12th of the season. The opposite-field drive gave the Express a 3-1 advantage they would never surrender. Brandon Sisk recorded the final six outs for the
Right-hander Luis Mendoza (11-5, 2.15) will try to ride his pitching success to what could be a division championship Wednesday night, when he takes on right-hander Eric Hurley of Round Rock (8-2, 4.76). With an Omaha win and a Memphis loss, the Storm Chasers would be playoff-bound for the first time since 1999. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.