The Fresno Grizzlies rallied for three runs in the eighth inning and then managed to escape a big jam in the ninth inning to beat the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 4-3, Wednesday night at Chukchansi Park.
After being held to one run through the first 16 innings of the series, the Grizzlies (63-63) overcame a 3-1 deficit and scored three runs in the eighth inning, albeit with some good luck. Two of the first three batters of the inning collected infield singles to set the stage for the rally.
Trevor Brown pulled the Grizzlies within one with a RBI single, and Mark Minicozzi followed with a game-tying RBI single off Jason Stoffel (3-4) to even things up.
Jarrett Parker then notched Fresno's fourth straight hit to load the bases before Chris Dominguez, who hit a go-ahead sac fly to center field. Later during the play Minicozzi was caught in a rundown between third and home and was tagged out, but it was well after the run had scored.
It appeared the RedHawks would at least tie the game in the ninth inning. Andrew Aplin led off with a single. Carlos Perez stepped up next and drilled a ball off the top of the center field fence, mere inches from being a go-ahead home run. Instead it was a double, but it put runners at second and third with none out.
However, the RedHawks were not able to score. Erik Cordier got out of the jam with a strikeout by Max Stassi, a pop out by Jio Mier, and groundout by Jonathan Villar to end the game, as Cordier picked up his third save.
With the loss, the RedHawks (63-63) missed out on a chance to pull within two games of first place in the American Northern Division, as the Iowa Cubs lost to the Las Vegas 51s earlier in the night. They'll remain three back of first place with 18 games remaining, behind both Iowa and the Omaha Storm Chasers, who moved into a tie for first place Thursday.
The Grizzlies scored for the first time in the series in the bottom of the second inning. With two on and none out, Dominguez lined a single to left field to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead. After Dominguez's hit, Fresno still had two on with none out, but RedHawks pitcher Nick Tropeano got out of the inning and kept the Grizzlies at one run.
The RedHawks tied the game in the team's next at-bat. Stassi led off the inning with a double, and Mier followed with a bunt single. Villar then laid down a drag bunt single to score Stassi, tying the game at 1-1.
In the top of the fourth inning, a defensive miscue by Fresno put the RedHawks in the lead. With a runner at second base and two out, Perez sent a fly ball to right-center field. Parker misplayed the ball and missed the catch, allowing a run score.
The game stood at 2-1 until the eighth inning. Ronny Torreyes sent a two-out RBI single to shallow center field, pushing Oklahoma City's lead to 3-1.
Fresno's comeback spoiled Tropeano's chance for a win. In his best outing since coming off the Disabled List in late July, Tropeano held the Grizzlies to just one run and six hits. He finished with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Instead the win went to Fresno reliever Brett Bochy (4-4), who recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning.
The RedHawks look to bounce back when they meet the Grizzlies Thursday night at 9:05 p.m. Central.