Omaha's offense showed some signs of life.
It didn't turn into a win Thursday night, but it was progress.
“I thought we showed some signs of coming around,” Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said. “We were more aggressive at the plate, didn't take as many fastballs, and made it close at the end.”
Albuquerque pushed across two eighth-inning runs to break a tie and beat Omaha 6-4 before 5,086 at Werner Park.
The Storm Chasers rapped out 11 hits — only the fourth time in 26 games they have had as many as 10, and two hits more than they managed in Wednesday's doubleheader — but had a ninth-inning rally come up just short.
With 101-mph throwing reliever Jose Dominguez out after a dominant eighth inning, Irving Falu and Johnny Giavotella led off the ninth with back-to-back singles against Steve Ames.
Falu was 3 for 5, making outs only on a pair of screaming line drives.
The rally was suspended when Xavier Nady lined into a double play, as first baseman Rusty Ryal made the catch and tagged Giavotella before he could scramble back to the bag. Giavotella didn't budge toward second base, but still couldn't get back.
“That's tough,” Jirschele said. “You get your secondary (lead) and the guy hits a line drive right at the bag.”
But Max Ramirez walked and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson stole second base, before Adam Moore hit a ground ball to second baseman Elevys Gonzalez. But it wasn't quite over — the throw from Gonzalez was wide and Ryal had to make a diving catch, and then Ryal kicked his foot back to touch the bag while lying flat on his stomach for the final out.
Jirschele was kicking himself slightly for not having Dyson — on injury rehab from Kansas City because of a high ankle sprain — pinch-run for Giavotella. Dyson likely would have already stolen second base by the time Nady hit the liner that doubled up Giavotella.
“I didn't really want to pinch-run him — he's down here on rehab and he'd been sitting all night,” Jirschele said. “But at the end, I just decided to do it.”
Had Moore been safe, Dyson would have scored the tying run easily.
Moore had tied the game with a long three-run homer to left center field in the fifth inning. Albuquerque starter Rob Rasmussen walked Nady to lead off the inning, then hit Ramirez with a pitch. Moore followed by turning a fastball into his eighth homer of the season.
But in the eighth, the Isotopes loaded the bases against Michael Mariot (1-4) with an infield tap single by Ryal, a bloop double by Chili Buss and a walk by Brian Barden. Then John Baker lined a single through a drawn-in infield and Matt Wallach drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 6-4.
Danny Duffy, making his third rehab start with Omaha and his sixth overall, gave up three first-inning runs on three hits, but also had some strong stretches. The left-hander, recovering from Tommy John surgery, went 4 2/3 innings before reaching his 75-pitch limit and allowed four runs on five hits, with three walks and five strikeouts.
“He struggled with his command in the first inning, but he settled in and pitched well,” Jirschele said. “He really didn't have his breaking ball, but his fastball was much better — he had much better command of it as the game went on.”
Duffy, whose rehab cannot extend beyond Wednesday, has an 11.70 ERA in his three Omaha starts. His fastball touched 97 mph.
Duffy walked Matt Angle to lead off the game, and Justin Sellers followed with a single. After getting two outs, Duffy gave up an RBI ground-rule double to Buss and a two-run double to Barden.
Omaha got a run back in the second, as Anthony Seratelli reached on a bunt single, stole second base and eventually scored on a Paulo Orlando double.
But Albuquerque made it 4-1 in the fourth. After Duffy walked Buss and Barden to lead off the inning, Baker lined an RBI single off the left field wall.
“After the first inning, if you had told me he was going to go 4 2/3, I would have said, 'No way,'” Jirschele said. “But he settled in, and I thought this was good for him, a step in the right direction.”
STORM TRACKING: Moore and Brett Hayes, basically splitting time at catcher, share the team RBI lead in June with 10. They've also combined for seven June homers, matching the rest of the team's total.
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