WEST SACRAMENTO – A pair of two-run homers propelled the Omaha Storm Chasers past the Sacramento River Cats 6-2 Thursday at Raley Field.
Storm Chasers catcher Francisco Pena started things off in the top of the second inning with his 10th home run of the season. The two-run blast to left gave Omaha a 2-0 edge.
Not to be outdone was center fielder Justin Maxwell, who launched a two-run shot of his own in the top of the third that bounced on the roof of Sacramento’s clubhouse. The bomb was Maxwell’s third of the season and gave his club a four-run lead.
Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, the River Cats were able to get their first run of the contest when first baseman Nate Freiman grounded into a double play with the bases loaded. Designated hitter Daric Barton followed suit in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring left fielder Nick Buss from third on another ground-ball double play to make it 4-2. Buss finished the game 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
In the top of the seventh with bases loaded, Omaha second baseman Johnny Giavotella smacked a two-RBI, ground-rule double to right-center field, capping the scoring for the Chasers.
Cats starter Arnold Leon (6-2, 5.35 ERA) was tagged for the loss. He threw six innings, allowed four earned runs on six hits, while striking out a season-high eight batters. Righty Philip Humber pitched two innings of shutout baseball in relief.
Right-handed pitcher Sugar Ray Marimon (5-2, 3.44 ERA) went six innings for the Storm Chasers, giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks with one strikeout to pick up the win.
Earning his first save of the season for Omaha was reliever Casey Coleman. He threw three innings of scoreless baseball to secure the victory and helped the Chasers hand Sacramento its first series-loss at home this season.
The Sacramento River Cats open up a four-game home set with the Iowa Cubs at 7:05 p.m. Friday night. Right-hander Marcus Walden (2-2, 5.53 ERA) will take the hill for the River Cats against Cubs starter Dallas Beeler (3-2, 3.89 ERA). The first 2,500 fans through the gates will get an Eric Sogard Garden Gnome to take home after the contest.