The Fresno Grizzlies (62-44) maintained a nine-game lead in the PCL's Pacific Northern Division on Saturday evening at home after their contest against the Omaha Storm Chasers (48-57), erasing an early 2-0 deficit to win by a run. Fresno has matched their season high at 18 games over .500, with 34 games to play in the regular season.
Making his first appearance on the Chukchansi Park mound in over 15 months after Tommy John surgery and rehab, Fresno starter Brady Rodgers retired the side in order to begin the game, fielding a pair of comebackers for two 1-3 putouts for good measure. Omaha struck first in the second however, and led 1-0 after a Donnie Dewees RBI single. It was 2-0 after a Frank Schwindel solo homer to left field in the third, his 19th of the season.
The Grizzlies cut into the lead in their half of the third, when Derek Fisher started a two-out rally with a walk, and scored all the way from first base on a Jack Mayfield double into the right field gap. The game was tied 2-2 in the fifth after Jake Marisnick (2-for-4) doubled, later scoring on an A.J. Reed liner to right field.
Fresno took their first lead of the night in the sixth, when Marisnick's second double scored Garrett Stubbs, who also doubled. The 3-2 advantage would stand up as the final.
Rodgers (1-1) needed just 67 pitches (49 strikes) to get through six innings, as he eases closer to his usual workload. It was the right-hander's third start for Fresno and by far his best since re-joining the Grizzlies, scattering four hits and a walk. Both runs allowed were earned.
Omaha starter Zach Lovvorn (1-5) also went six, allowing three (earned) runs on eight hits and four walks.
Rogelio Armenteros made a rare relief appearance backing up Rodgers, and fired three scoreless, hitless innings with five strikeouts to end the game and earn his first save of the season. The victory improved the Grizzlies to 14-5 this season against American Conference competition, a.k.a the eastern half of the PCL, and 13-8 in one-run games at home.
The third of the four-game set will be Sunday at Chukchansi Park, a 5 p.m. PT first pitch. Probable starters are LHP Jake Kalish (5-4, 3.06) for Omaha, opposite RHP Trent Thornton (7-7, 3.91) for Fresno.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.