Domingo Santana belted a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Oklahoma City to a dramatic 8-5 victory over Omaha Friday night at Bricktown Ballpark. The Storm Chasers lost for a third time in their last four games to fall to 43-37 overall and see their lead over the RedHawks trimmed to one game in the American Conference North Division.
OKC turned to Jason Stoffel to protect a one-run lead in the top of the ninth but he could not do it. Christian Colon drew a one-out walk, stole second base and scored to tie the game at five on a double by Johnny Giavotella, who has knocked in 18 runs in his last 16 games. Spencer Patton was brought on in the bottom of the frame and found trouble immediately when Austin Wates led off with a base hit. Gregorio Petit dropped down a sacrifice bunt to advance Wates before Marc Krauss was walked intentionally to set up the right vs. right match-up and the possibility for a double play grounder. Santana spoiled the strategy by launching the second pitch he saw the other way over the wall in right field to put an emphatic halt to the hosts five-game slide. Patton, who had given up four runs all season through June 15, has now been tagged for 13 over his last four outings covering just 3 2/3 innings.
Bobby Doran, filling in for scheduled starter Brett Oberholtzer, who was on “hold” for the big leagues, retired the first two hitters he faced before two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Jimmy Paredes, who cleared them with a triple to give the visitors the lead six batters into the contest. The RedHawks got one of the runs back in the second on a two-out RBI hit by Matt Duffy before Omaha pushed the lead back to three in the fifth on a fielder’s choice grounder by Paulo Orlando that plated Giavotella, who had opened the inning with a single and advanced to third on a Matt Fields base hit. Doran lasted six innings and was charged with those four runs on eight hits while walking two and recording only one strikeout.
Krauss belted a two-run home run that pulled the hosts to within 4-3 in the sixth and spelled the end of the line for Omaha starter Ryan Verdugo, who yielded six hits, walked one and fanned four. Wilking Rodriguez took over and gave up back-to-back singles and a fielder’s choice grounder to Preston Tucker that chased home Santana with the tying run and was lifted with the bases loaded and one out. Louis Coleman assumed the hill and induced a force out at the plate on a Ronny Torreyes grounder before Wates legged out an infield hit that pushed Duffy across with the go-ahead run. The side-winding right-hander wound up tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings during which he struck out three.