|© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
RedHawks rally, lock up division title08/24/2008 1:21 AM ET
By Alan Friedman / Special to MLB.com
Casey Benjamin isn't a home run hitter, but he powered the Oklahoma RedHawks into the Pacific Coast League playoffs on Saturday night.
The 28-year-old shortstop hit his second homer of the game, a three-run shot in the eighth inning, to give the RedHawks a 10-8 triumph over the Iowa Cubs and the American South Division title.
Benjamin smacked a two-run shot in the fifth that sliced Oklahoma's deficit to 7-3. With the RedHawks trailing in the eighth, 8-7, he launched a three-run shot to left field.
"It was a fastball away," said Benjamin, who began the season with Double-A Frisco. "I caught it on the barrel of the bat, got it up in the jet stream and it carried out."
It was the second multi-homer game of his six-year Minor League career and first since Aug. 12, 2005 with Class A Dayton.
"This has been a real good team effort," he added. "It's great just to be able to be a part of it. To be able to do that [hit the go-ahead homer] makes it something extra special."
Max Ramirez started the decisive eighth with his first career Triple-A homer. Oklahoma (72-63) also got a solo shot in the fourth from Chris Shelton, who is hitting .344 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs in 58 games.
Nelson Cruz, just back from a stint on the disabled list, contributed a double and his 99th RBI to help the RedHawks wrap up their first division title since 2005.
"We're not a team that lays down," Benjamin said after Oklahoma erased an early six-run deficit. "We scratch and claw our way back. That's the kind of team we've been this season."
Bill White (4-1) tossed 1 1/3 innings of perfect relief for the win.
Major League veteran Hector Carrasco (5-5) took the loss after surrendering four runs on four hits and two walks with one strikeout in one inning.
Koyie Hill hit a three-run homer and Luis Figueroa collected three hits for Iowa (79-55), which could have clinched the American North crown with a win.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.