Chasers Claim Series Opener, Win Sixth Straight

Omaha pitchers work around four errors, get key long ball from Robinson

By Mike Feigen | August 3, 2011 8:39 PM

OMAHA, Neb. - The Omaha Storm Chasers overcame four errors in the opening game of a four-game series with the Sacramento River Cats, getting a go-ahead home run from Clint Robinson to win 3-2 Wednesday night at Werner Park. Omaha ran its winning streak to six, while the River Cats, boasting the league's best record coming in, saw their own six-game win streak snapped.

Winning pitcher Sean O'Sullivan (4-2) and relievers Kelvin Herrera and Jesse Chavez (14th save) did not allow an earned run in the ballgame, giving up eight hits and walking one batter. Herrera was particularly masterful, entering with two runners on and nobody out in the seventh and working his way out of the jam. Featuring a fastball that reached 100 miles per hour on the Werner Park radar gun, Herrera fanned Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chris Carter to end the inning and went on to pitch a scoreless eighth as well.

O'Sullivan allowed a pair of unearned runs in the top of the third inning, a frame that was marred by three errors - one fielding, two throwing - by Omaha shortstop Lance Zawadzki. O'Sullivan didn't get rattled by the defense behind him, working six-plus innings and striking out five without issuing a walk.

Zawadzki would get a chance to redeem himself at the plate in the bottom of the third, leading off with an infield base-hit up the middle to spark an Omaha rally. Joaquin Arias singled him to third, and 2011 newcomer and Omaha veteran Kurt Mertins followed with a sacrifice fly to left, cutting the River Cats lead in half at 2-1.

One inning later, Robinson's two-run, line-drive home run onto the berm in right field gave the Storm Chasers the lead for good. It was Robinson's 19th long ball of the season and the two runs batted in gave him a team-leading 73 on the year, one more than Johnny Giavotella's 72. He also ripped a single, improving his batting average to .311.

Neither team was able to score after the fourth, despite several opportunities. Sacramento went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base, while Omaha was 0-for-4 and left five on. The River Cats did not commit an error in the ballgame.

The two clubs will meet again Thursday night at Werner Park, with former River Cats and Oakland Athletics starter Vin Mazzaro (5-1, 4.97) taking the mound for Omaha (62-49) against his former club. Sacramento (68-44) will counter with Tyson Ross (0-1, 14.04), a 6-foot-6 righthander who has seen big-league time with the A's each of the past two seasons. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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