Johnny Giavotella led off the 12th inning with the game-winning home run as Omaha forged a huge 4-3 comeback win over Colorado Springs on Sunday night in the fourth of five meetings at Security Service Field. The Storm Chasers won for the third time in the series to improve to 64-57 and keep their share of first place along with the victorious Iowa Cubs in the American Conference North Division.
Brooks Brown retired all six batters he faced and gave way to Rob Scahill to open the decisive frame. Giavotella greeted him with his fifth long ball of the season, and first since July 18, to put the visitors in the lead for the first time since the first inning. Louis Coleman assumed the hill in the bottom half and notched the last three outs to earn the save and preserve the win for Casey Coleman, who tossed four scoreless innings in his longest outing of the campaign.
Dan Houston had thrown 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and carried a 3-2 lead into the ninth but could not close the door on the visitors. Cheslor Cuthbert led off with a single and was replaced by pinch-runner Terrance Gore, who stole second base, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored to tie the game on a single by Giavotella, the Storm Chasers first pinch-hit of the season.
Omaha struck in the first inning for a third time in the series, and has tallied first in all four games, on a run-scoring single by Carlos Peguero, his 17th RBI in his last 15 games. Matt McBride’s two-out, two-run home run, his second of the series, put the hosts in the lead for the first time in the third. Peguero walked with one out in the fourth, moved to third base on a Francisco Pena double and scored to tie the game on a Cuthbert grounder. Sky Sox starter Chad Bettis then recovered to strike out Matt Fields and get Brian Bocock to bounce out to end the inning and keep Pena stranded at third with the potential go-ahead run. The right-hander lasted a season-high 4 1/3 innings in just his second start and yielded four hits while walking a pair and fanning four.
Colorado Springs moved back in front 3-2 in the fifth on a two-out, run-scoring double by Kyle Parker that plated Rafael Ynoa, who had reached on an error. Omaha starter Clay Mortensen yielded those three runs, two earned, on four hits while walking one and striking out five over five frames in his third start of the season against one of his former PCL teams. Blake Wood followed with two scoreless frames during which he struck out five. Oddly, in all four games of the set, the winning team has committed three errors.
The series concludes Monday night with Omaha left-hander Buddy Baumann taking the mound against a Colorado Springs starter to be determined. Coverage of the game begins at 7:15 pm and can be heard locally on 1180 Zone 2 The Deuce and online at omahastormchasers.com.