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Royal Blues


July 31, 2009 10:54 PM

Raines caps off crazy 4-run, 9th-inning walkoff win for Omaha

When the Omaha Royals came up to bat in the bottom of the 9th, down 4-1 to the rival Iowa Cubs, I didn't have 100% faith that they'd get the job done, even with the heart of the order due up. Maybe not even 90%. That's what happens when "trusting the process" is your way of life

Then, J.R. House walked. And Kila Ka'aihue walked. It was Kila's 2nd walk of the night, so he has now tied the ORoyals record for walks in a season - and it's not even August yet! With Scott Thorman coming up to bat, the Iowa coaches paid a visit to Vince Perkins, the reliever who had been brought in for the inning. After talking things over on the mound...Thorman walked too.
PICT1659.JPG(Kila Ka'aihue takes ball four in the bottom of the 9th. It was his 82nd walk of the year, which ties a club record for a full season.)

Bases juiced, all on walks, nobody out. Chris Lubanski, in just his 2nd game back from a hamstring injury and undoubtedly hungry for his first hit since his return, was up next. He came up swinging, even though Perkins was having so much trouble finding the strike zone. It worked out, sort of, when Lubanski lofted a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing House to score and Ka'aihue to move to 3rd. It was now 4-2, 1 out, 2 men on, and newly-promoted Jordan Parraz at the plate.

In his first handful of games at the Triple-A level, Parraz had swung at about every pitch offered to him. This at-bat was no different, and Parraz chopped at the second pitch to bring Ka'aihue home and move Thorman to 3rd. It was Parraz's second hit of the night, and also his second hit overall as an Omaha Royal.

Mario Lisson hit a ground ball to short, and had to run like hell to avoid the double-play that would send the game into extras. He made it safely and eventually stole second while the light-hitting Tim Raines, Jr. was at the plate. Raines is not normally the most disciplined hitter, but he managed to work the count full before poking a single through on the right-field side. Lisson scored from second, and the Omaha bench cleared in a hurry to celebrate the 5-4 walkoff win. Raines dashed around the left side of the infield, trying to avoid being the bottom of a dogpile, but his triumphant teammates did catch him eventually.
PICT1665.JPGRaines had, at some point, flung his helmet off in a fit of glee. He was so gleeful, in fact, that he left is where it landed, next to third base:
PICT1669.JPG Despite allowing 10 hits, a walk and three runs, Kyle Davies needed only 98 pitches to get through seven innings tonight. Since his demotion, Davies has kept his walk rate lower than it was in Kansas City this year, which was a fairly obvious priority. He has also struck out more batters per nine innings, but that could just be because he's facing Triple-A hitters. Either way, his FIP in Omaha is a nice, tidy 3.20, and I imagine we'll see him back up in the Majors soon. Here's Kyle pitching in the 1st inning:
PICT1602.JPGDoug Waechter, whose rehab assignment has been going on for approximately 40 years, pitched two flawless innings to close things out for Omaha. He also picked up the win, and extended his scoreless innings streak to nine. I think he has just under a week left before he goes back up to join the big club.


Omaha took three out of four games from Iowa, much to the dismay of the bajillions of I-Cubs fans in attendance at each game, and finished July 13-14. They're heading out to Memphis for a four-gamer before coming back home on Wednesday.    

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