• Box Score: Omaha 10, Oklahoma City 9, 10 innings
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Johnny Giavotella had tied it in the fifth and appeared to have won it in the eighth.
Then the Omaha Storm Chasers second baseman went ahead and made sure of it in the 10th.
Giavotella led off the bottom of the 10th inning with his fifth homer of the season, ending a late-inning seesaw affair with Oklahoma City 10-9 in front of 5,511 Saturday night at Werner Park.
“There were some huge momentum swings,” Giavotella said. “They kind of took the wind out of our sails in the top of the ninth, but we showed a lot of heart and had those two big at-bats by (Max) Ramirez and (Anthony) Seratelli in the bottom of the ninth.
“It just shows that no matter how much we’re down, we’re able to come back and fight our way through it.”
Tied 5-5, Omaha scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth, the first of which came when Giavotella drew a bases-loaded walk against Jose Valdez. Another run scored after Jason Bourgeois was caught in a rundown between third and home, but escaped and scored on an error by third baseman Scott Moore.
It wasn’t over, though.
“With the way the wind was blowing, runs were coming easy tonight,” Giavotella said.
Moore drove in a run with a single, and then the RedHawks — down to their final strike — took the lead on Justin Ruggiano’s two-run single off Jeremy Jeffress. Then Ruggiano stole third base and scored on a throwing error by catcher Cody Clark, making it 9-7 to apparently end it.
Valdez, the RedHawk closer, returned for the bottom of the ninth and yielded a leadoff homer to Max Ramirez and a one-out homer to Anthony Seratelli that tied it again.
“We get down by a couple of runs and we just don’t give up,” Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said.
Omaha’s Francisley Bueno (1-2) allowed four baserunners in the top of the 10th, but none scored as he got a double-play grounder and left the bases loaded. Then Giavotella worked a 3-1 count against Mickey Storey (0-2) and lifted his fifth homer of the season onto the berm beyond the outfield fence.
“I took a couple of pitches and got in a good hitter’s count, got a fastball up and hit it pretty well,” Giavotella said.
Omaha (20-10) won its 13th straight home game and improved to 14-1 at Werner Park.
“We love playing here and we’ve been on the road so much early in the season that we love playing in front of the good fans here,” Giavotella said. “Obviously it shows with our record.”
In a matchup of highly regarded pitching prospects, Omaha jumped in front with four first-inning runs off Jordan Lyles on back-to-back, two-run doubles by Ramirez and David Lough, who extended his hitting streak to 15 games. But Oklahoma City muscled up to get back against Mike Montgomery.
Veteran Mike Hessman hit a solo homer in the second and Brad Snyder hit another in the third. Then Brett Wallace’s three-run homer in the fourth gave the RedHawks a 5-4 lead.
It was the third homer of the year for Hessman, the 34-year-old veteran who has clubbed 338 minor league homers.
Omaha got a run back in the fifth as Derrick Robinson singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Giavotella. Robinson went 3 for 4, raising his average to .356.
“That thing bounced back and forth so many times,” Jirschele said. “And I knew, even when we got the 4-0 lead, that it was going to take more than that to win the game — because they’ve got some good veteran hitters on that club.”
• STORM TRACKING: Kansas City optioned right-handed reliever Louis Coleman to Omaha to make room for Felipe Paulino, who was reinstated from the disabled list Saturday. Paulino takes the rotation spot of Luis Mendoza, who has been shuffled to the bullpen. Coleman allowed four runs on eight hits in 823 innings for the Royals. … Infielder Kurt Mertins has also been added to the Omaha roster.
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