Saints Spoil Witt Jr.'s Sensational Night; Chasers Fail to Complete Comeback
PAPILLION, Neb. -- Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. went 3-for-5 with an inside-the-park home run-his first career Triple-A home run-but the Omaha Storm Chasers fell, 7-6, to the St. Paul Saints on Wednesday at Werner Park.
Witt Jr. earned an infield single by beating out a ground ball in the first inning, made a full-extension diving play on a ground ball to shortstop in the top of the third, and then stepped to the plate to lead off the bottom of the third with the game tied, 3-3. He smacked a 1-0 pitch from St. Paul (35-32) right-hander Josh Winder off the left-center field fence and out of centerfielder Jake Cave's reached and raced around the bases, diving home headfirst for an inside-the-park home run to put Omaha (40-26) in front, 4-3.
It was the first inside-the-park home run for the Storm Chasers since Paulo Orlando on June 26, 2014, in a road game against Oklahoma City.
Witt Jr. singled to right field in his third at-bat of the night to record his first three-hit game at the Triple-A level. He is 5-for-11 (455) with a home run through two games with Omaha.
The Saints scored the game's first runs in the top of the first inning against right-hander Brandon Barker. Following a four-pitch walk to Jose Miranda, Barker allowed an RBI single to Rob Refsnyder, who bounced a base hit against the shift to bring in Miranda. Refsnyder later moved to third on an error by Barker and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brent Rooker. St. Paul added another run in the second on a solo home run by Sherman Johnson.
The Chasers tied the game in the bottom of the second with three runs on three hits. After designated hitter Kyle Isbel doubled off the right-field fence, he scored on an RBI single by catcher Sebastian Rivero. Next, third baseman Angelo Castellano tied the game with a two-run home run to left field, his first career home run at Werner Park.
Isbel's double extended his hitting streak to nine games, tying the longest hitting streak by a Chasers player this season. Over his last nine games, Isbel is 11-for-27 (.407) with two home runs.
Three innings after Omaha took the lead on Witt Jr.'s inside-the-park home run, Isbel manufactured a run to put the Chasers up by two. With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Isbel drew a walk against left-hander Jovani Moran (Win, 1-0), moved to second on a balk, stole third base, and scored on an grounder by Rivero. The stolen base was Isbel's 16th of the season in 16 attempts.
St. Paul leapt in front in the seventh with a pair of two-run home runs against left-hander Jake Kalish (Loss, 1-2). After allowed a two-run homer to Miranda that tied the game, 5-5, Kalish yielded a go-ahead two-run home run to Keon Broxton, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter.
Omaha scored in the bottom of the eighth, but left the bases loaded. After loading the bases on three consecutive walks to start the inning, Rivero delivered an RBI single to make it a one-run game. Right-hander Nick Vincent (Save, 4) entered and retired the next three batters with strikeouts to end the threat.
Rivero finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
First baseman Nick Pratto doubled with two outs in the ninth to put the potential tying run in scoring position, but Vincent induced a flyout from centerfielder Edward Olivares to end the game.
It was Omaha's third consecutive loss, tying the season's longest losing streak.
The Storm Chasers continue their series with the St. Paul Saints on Thursday at Werner Park, when right-hander Eddie Butler (4-1, 4.20) faces St. Paul right-hander Matt Shoemaker (1-0, 0.00). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. CT with the Sarpy County Tourism Pregame Show on 1180 The Zone.
The six-game homestand features a Bubba Starling "Bubba Fett" bobblehead giveaway-presented by Fairfield Inn & Suites-to the first 1,500 fans on Friday, July 23 and the rescheduled FNBO Independence Fireworks Show following Friday's game. For tickets and more information, please visit omahastormchasers.com, call the Werner Park Ticket Office at (402) 738-5100 and follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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