Big Crowd Enjoys Win, Final Game Tributes
OMAHA, NE - A crowd of 23,795 fans - the largest of the 2010 season and the seventh-biggest in the 42-year history of the Omaha Royals - turned out Thursday night to say goodbye to an old friend. During an emotional night full of tributes and with many former professional ballplayers on hand, the final regular season game in the history of Rosenblatt Stadium went into the books as a 6-2 Royals victory over the Round Rock Express.
Round Rock scored a run in the first inning on a wild pitch by Kansas City right-hander Luke Hochevar, who was making his second rehab start with Omaha. But, in the bottom of the first inning, Minor League player of the year candidate Mike Moustakas continued his power surge by belting a two-run homer to right-center field, putting the Royals on top 2-1.
The home run - which turned out to the last one hit in 62-year old ballpark's history - extended the 21-year old phenom's hitting streak to eight games and marked his eighth round-tripper and 23rd and 24th RBI during the streak. It was the 15th homer for "Moose" in just 48 games with Triple-A Omaha and his Minor League-leading 36th home run of the season.
Round Rock starter Sergio Perez (3-4) gave up two more runs in the third inning, walking three batters, yielding a sacrifice fly to Scott Thorman and uncorking a wild pitch to plate Irving Falu, making it 4-1.
Each team scored a run in the fourth, with Omaha's coming home on an infield single by Jarrod Dyson, his second of four hits on the night. Dyson, who has hits in nine of his last ten tilts, would also collect two stolen bases and score two runs in the contest. He picked up the final hit in the 'Blatt's history with an eighth inning single, immediately after Kurt Mertins' run-scoring single closed out the game's scoring.
Royals lefty Edgar Osuna (1-3) got the final win in the ballpark's history. It was the 22-year old pitcher's first Triple-A win. Victor Marte, Brian Anderson and Tim Collins each tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Collins retired the Express in order in the ninth inning, getting Brandon Barnes on a fly out to Dyson in right-center field 2-hours-and-31 minutes after the historic game's first pitch.
Omaha (78-62) won its final four contests at Rosenblatt, as the Royals swept the series from Round Rock (55-85), which lost its ninth game in a row.
Thursday night's crowd brings the Royals total attendance this season to 406,276 over 69 openings for an average of 5,888. It was the largest attendance total since the 2000 season, when 413,713 watched Omaha's Triple-A club at Rosenblatt.
The Royals' faint playoff hopes will still be alive if the first-place Iowa Cubs lose tonight at Albuquerque. Omaha opens its final four-game series of the year at Oklahoma City Friday at 7:05 p.m. Royals right-hander Luis Mendoza (10-8, 4.08) faces RedHawks lefty Michael Ballard (5-8, 5.35).
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