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Cain able to plate two in title game09/21/2011 12:01 AM ET
By Chris Jackson / Special to MLB.com
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Lorenzo Cain did his best to remind the baseball world he was still around, but it was not enough to help the Omaha Storm Chasers to victory in the Triple-A National Championship Game on Tuesday night.
Omaha fell to the Columbus Clippers, 8-3, as Cain ended the game by grounding out to shortstop with two runners on base. Still, it was Cain's two-run triple to right-center field that put the Storm Chasers on the board in the first inning. He later came around to score on John Whittleman's single to right field as the Royals' Pacific Coast League affiliate took a 3-0 lead.
"I think he's made great strides offensively," Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said. "We saw him last year in Nashville and he didn't swing the bat that good against us. He's made adjustments and great improvements offensively and defensively."
That three-run first, however, would be all the scoring the Storm Chasers were able to do against the pitching duo of Joe Martinez and Chen Lee.
"He did a good job, he settled in and he didn't panic," Jirschele said of Martinez, who tossed six shutout innings after the three-run first. "We went out there in the first inning and we hit some balls hard. After that point, he settled in and gave them six solid innings."
Cain reached base in the third and fifth on fielding errors, but his teammates were unable to drive him in. He walked to lead off the eighth, but was left stranded at third base.
"I feel like I had a great season this year," Cain said. "I put up solid numbers, I think. I'd say I'm happy with the way I finished. I just want to finish this thing out and see what happens after this."
The former top Brewers prospect went from Milwaukee's starting center fielder late in 2010 to a season-long stint with Omaha in which he batted .312 with 16 home runs, 81 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.
"He played great all year," Jirschele said. "He's a guy that could have been with his head down, seeing the outfield up there [in Kansas City] wondering where [he was] going to go. He went about his business and put together a great year."
Cain said he had mixed emotions when he found out he was traded during the offseason.
"I was excited after the year I had," he said. "I got called up to the big leagues and I was playing up there every day for them. Then I got traded. It's a situation where I really don't know what's going to happen. I'm still unsure.
"It's a business. The Brewers needed pitching at that time. They did what they had to do to get (Zack) Greinke over there, he's a great pitcher. I'm happy for those guys. But I'm over here now. All I can do is go out and play and hope for the best."
Cain's consolation prize for not winning the Triple-A championship was the news after the game that he was one of six Storm Chasers bound for Kansas City.
Catcher Manny Pina, outfielder Jarrod Dyson and right-handers Vin Mazzaro, Sean O'Sullivan and No. 8 prospect Kelvin Herrera were promoted by the Royals.
"Yeah, they are (a deserving group," Jirschele said. "They earned it, every one of them."
No. 7 prospect Clint Robinson, one of Omaha's biggest offensive threats during the regular season and the playoffs, missed the game due to a sports hernia.