OMAHA, Neb. — The television debut of the Omaha Storm Chasers did not fail to disappoint, as the Chasers powered their way past the Iowa Cubs 6-3 Monday night in front of 5,037 fans at Werner Park. The live broadcast by Kansas City’s Time Warner Cable Metro Sports was the first in the club’s history at Werner Park, the first of at least three television games that will air this season.
Johnny Giavotella, Mike Aviles and Lorenzo Cain all went deep for Omaha during the game, providing starter Bruce Chen and winning pitcher Kyle Davies (1-0) with enough run support to hold off the I-Cubs. Chen and Davies were in town on big-league rehabilitation assignments, after both throwing for Double-A Northwest Arkansas this past Wednesday.
Chen went the first four frames, allowing two runs on six hits with one strikeout, while Davies closed out the final five innings, giving up a run on four hits while striking out five. Neither pitcher issued a walk, throwing 92 of their collective 136 pitches for strikes.
Giavotella got the Storm Chasers on the board early, powering a two-run home run just two batters into the bottom of the first to make it 2-0. Then, after Iowa pushed ahead 3-2 in the fifth, Aviles came through with a towering three-run blast off losing pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx (3-3), putting the Chasers in front for good. An inning later, Cain capped the scoring with a solo drive well beyond the wall in left.
Each club collected 10 hits, including one from Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who batted third and played leftfield for the I-Cubs while rehabilitating a quadriceps injury. He is expected to play one more game at Werner Park before returning to Wrigley Field to join his Chicago teammates.
The upcoming Metro Sports TV broadcasts, which will also air locally in Omaha on Cox channel 2, are scheduled for Monday, June 27 against the Memphis Redbirds and Monday, July 25 against the Round Rock Express. Memphis is second in the American Conference Northern Division, 4.5 games behind the first place Storm Chasers after improving to 31-32 Monday night. Omaha is now 36-28, the first time all season they have been eight games above the .500 mark.
The Chasers and I-Cubs will be back Tuesday night for game two of their four-game series, scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Werner Park. It is another QuikTrip (QT) and Pepsi T-shirt Tuesday, with the first 1,000 fans in attendance receiving a limited-edition Rosenblatt Legacy T-shirt. In addition, 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist and Nebraska native Curt Tomasevicz will throw out the first pitch, while a special weekday fireworks show will take place just after the game.