Shane Robinson scored two runs, drove in a pair and finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle to support seven strong innings from Marco Gonzales as Memphis downed Omaha, 6-3, Tuesday night in the second of four meetings at AutoZone Park. The Storm Chasers slipped to 53-49 and fell a game and a half behind the victorious Iowa Cubs in the American Conference North Division.
The hosts scored first for the second night in a row when Robinson blasted Clay Mortensen’s first pitch of the contest for his first home run of the year but the lead was short-lived, as the Storm Chasers countered in the second inning with a solo shot of their own from Justin Maxwell. The Redbirds regained the lead for good in the home half on a two-out run-scoring hit by Robinson and made it a 4-1 game in the third on a sacrifice fly by Greg Garcia and Tommy Pham’s infield hit that chased home a run. Mortensen, originally drafted by the Cardinals, wound up taking the loss after he yielded those four runs on nine hits while walking one and striking out three over 4 2/3 innings of work.
Jason Adam followed and surrendered a two-out, two-run single to Piscotty, his eighth hit in 10 tries with the bases loaded, that pushed the Memphis advantage to 6-1 in the sixth before a Francisco Pena solo shot, his 20th of the season, trimmed the margin to four in the seventh. Gonzales permitted the pair of runs on five hits, did not walk a batter and fanned seven to earn the win in his second Triple-A turn. Angel Castro took over in the eighth but was yanked after giving up base hits to Whit Merrifield and Christian Colon, the only two batters he faced. Giavotella then greeted Eric Fornataro with a double that plated Merrifield to make it 6-3 and advanced Colon to third, where he remained after a ground out and a walk to Paulo Orlando that loaded the bases. However, the rally fizzled as Maxwell struck out and Pena bounced into a force out to end the inning. The right-hander then set down the side in order in the ninth to earn the save and preserve the Redbirds 50th win of the season.
The series continues Wednesday with Omaha southpaw Joe Saunders getting the starting nod against Memphis left-hander Tyler Lyons.