Twos were wild Thursday night at Chukchansi Park. The second-largest crowd in Fresno Grizzlies/Tacos history, 14,651, experienced "Taco Truck Throwdown 6." With just two runs scored in regulation, extending a 1-1 game into a second extra inning, Colin Moran ended it with his second hit of the ballgame, as the Fresno Tacos defeated the Omaha Storm Chasers 2-1.
Finally, of the record 35 competing taco trucks in and around Chukchansi Park, El Premio Mayor successfully defended their People's Choice Championship, winning their second consecutive fan popular vote.
The Tacos poked three of their seven hits on the night in the first inning. Moran (2-for-5, BB) led off with a single, extending his current-club high hit streak to eight games, which is also now a season-high for the third baseman. After reaching on a fielder's choice, Yulieski Gurriel would score on a Danny Worth (2-for-3, 2 BB) RBI knock to make it 1-0 Fresno after an inning.
Omaha found the equalizer in the third, when three consecutive one-out hits ended with an Orlando Calixte RBI single, which would be the last scoring play for eight innings.
Fresno starter Cesar Valdez, who entered action with the fourth-lowest WHIP and ERA in the Pacific Coast League, dazzled once again in a tough-luck no decision. In seven one-run innings, he scattered six hits without a walk and struck out nine; one shy of his season high in punchouts (June 16 at Sacramento).
Storm Chasers right-hander Jonathan Dziedzic went 5.1 innings, allowing four hits and a run (earned), with five walks and five strikeouts.
Still knotted 1-1 in the bottom of the 11th, Alejandro Garcia led off with a single, making him 3-for-5 on the night. Garcia has collected multiple hits in all three of his games with Fresno thus far following his promotion from Double-A Corpus Christi. His first three-hit game makes him seven for his first 13 in Triple-A with two RBI.
Garcia moved to second on a Max Stassi sac bunt, and later scored on Moran's two-out liner into centerfield. Garcia cruised around third and slid feet first, evading a tag on the throw from center to eke out a run and win it for Fresno.
The Taco relief team of Brendan McCurry (eighth), Jordan Jankowski (ninth & 10th), and Jandel Gustave (11th) combined to toss four hitless innings of relief with four strikeouts. Fresno struck out 13 as a staff with Gustave (3-2) picking up the win with a perfect 11th. Jankowski, with three punchouts in two innings, has now struck out 89 batters in just 64.1 innings pitched in 2016.
Omaha reliever Clay Mortensen (3-5) was saddled with the loss in the 11th after 1.2 innings of work.
With the victory, Fresno snapped its longest overall and home losing streak this season, five games. The Fresno Tacos improved to 7-3 this season, and are 9-4 all-time after a 2-1 showing in 2015. With Tacoma's 6-4 win at Nashville, Fresno's deficit in the Pacific North Division race for a playoff spot to defend their championship remains at five games with 18 to play.
The finale of the four-game series will be Friday, wrapping an eight-game homestand at Chukchansi Park. Omaha will send RHP Mike Minor (0-4, 5.28) to the mound, opposite LHP Eury De La Rosa, who will make his Fresno Grizzlies debut. De La Rosa's contract was purchased by the Houston Astros from the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League earlier in the week.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.