July 13, 2008

MiLB -- Omaha Royals edge Memphis Redbirds

Memphis Redbirds (AAA)

Memphis, Autozone Park, July 12

Tyler Norrick (0-1, 2.25) struck out eight Royals in his first loss, but walked six, committing the pitching sin of walking in a run.

Four out of the six walks Norrick handed out came in the first inning, when the Royals accepted free passes until they scored, never recording a basehit in the inning.

The Royals scored again in the second, Norrick giving the leadoff hitter a free pass. Redbirds' catcher Gabe Johnson complicated matters with a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt, by the end of which the Royals had base runners on second and third. The Royals loaded the bases on a ground ball fielded by Norrick. The next batter whiffed. But a sacrifice fly to Nick Stavihoha in right field permitted the Royals to score their second run, going up 2-0. Norrick then managed to strike out the next hitter.

After a scoreless third, and Norrick settling down enough to start mounting up the strikeouts, the Redbirds would recoup one run in the bottom of the fourth. After Rico Washington singled sharply to center, David Freese drew a walk. An infield fly rule on a D'Angelo Jimenez moved no one, but a Cody Haerther single up the middle enabled Washington to score, cutting the Royals' lead in half at 2-1.

The Redbirds brought on John Wasdin to relieve Norrick in the fifth. The first Royals batter promptly doubled to left field, advanced to third on a ground ball to the right side, then scored on a wild pitch.

Down 3-1, the Redbirds would make up one run in the sixth. Washington reached on a walk to lead off the inning, advancing to second on a David Freese single through the middle. Jimenez laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving up both runners. Haerther then executed a move 'em in, move 'em over with a ground ball to the right side, Washington moving home and Freese moving over to third. Freese died there, however, the Redbirds still short a run at 3-2.

Wasdin would go on to strike out five, pitching four complete innings.

Mark Worrell worked the ninth inning, striking out two.

With the exception of a rough first inning, the combined Redbirds pitching was pretty solid.

The Redbirds did have a shot at the Royals in the eighth when Josh Phelps doubled to lead off the inning. Representing the tying run, Phelps advanced to third on a wild pitch, a good chance to score with no one out. Back to back strikeouts, however, by Washington and Freese, failed to move Phelps home, and after a Jimenez walk, Haerther fell short on a ground out to short.

In the 3-2 defeat, Redbirds' pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts, walking six (all Norrick's), and allowing only three hits.

The attendance at Autozone park was reported at 9,304.