Pickering's second homer decides see-saw battle
OMAHA - Calvin Pickering's second home run of the game - a two-run shot in the bottom of the tenth inning - gave the Omaha Royals a 10-8 win over the Tucson Sidewinders at Rosenblatt Stadium. A crowd of 2,185 fans enjoyed a see-saw battle that ended when Pickering jolted the first pitch he saw from Brandon Medders (3-2) over the left field wall.
Pickering's home run earlier in the contest was a solo shot, which immediately followed a three-run homer by hot-hitting Matt Diaz as the Royals scored four times off Russ Ortiz in the third inning to take a 5-2 lead. Ortiz, in the third game of a major league rehab assignment, would watch his teammates rally to give him the lead back. Brian Barden's two-run homer with two away in the fifth chased Omaha starter Kyle Snyder, who had surrendered a two-run double to Barden in the third. Barden's eleventh home run made it a 5-4 score and Tucson scored twice in the sixth off Nate Field. Andy Green tied the game with a run-scoring triple - his league leading 12th of the year - and the first of three hits for Keoni DeRenne put the Sidewinders ahead 6-5.
However, Ortiz could not hold the lead in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Justin Huber singled and Chris Truby followed by lining a home run just over the wall down the left field line, giving Omaha the advantage at 7-6. In the bottom of the seventh, Adrian Brown led off with a double and scored his third run of the contest on Aaron Guiel's line drive single to left-center.
That two-run lead evaporated in the eighth, as former Royal Juan Brito drilled a leadoff double and took third on Green's bunt single. Chris George then surrendered a two-run double to DeRenne, tying the game.
The Royals had an opportunity to regain the lead in the bottom of the inning, when Huber banged a one-out triple high off the center field wall. However, Jason Bulger made a nice snag of Truby's sharp come-backer, throwing him out at first base for the second out. Justin Gemoll sent a fly ball towards the alley in right-center field, but Carlos Quentin made a sliding, tie-preserving catch.
Meanwhile, the newest member of the Royals, right-hander Dave Elder denied the Sidewinders two chances to score late. Elder, just signed from Somerset of the independent Atlantic League, earned his new teammates' respect by working out of a runner-at-second-nobody-out jam in the eighth and runner-at-second with-one-out situation in the ninth. Justin Huisman (4-1) gave up a single and two walks in the tenth, but retired Barden on a fly out to leave the bases loaded. He got the win when Pickering became the ninth different Royal to hit two home runs in a game this season. Omaha (55-61) has won ten of its last 12 games.
Game 2 of the series is Tuesday at 7:05: LH Mark Freed (7-4, 4.86) vs. RH Dennis Tankersley (7-6, 4.80). Air-time is 6:14 p.m. on Magic 1490 and at www.Oroyals.com.
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Pacific Coast League Stories from August 8, 2005
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