Obviously, we would like to be on the winning side of a one-run ballgame, but this is what it is — cardiac kids I guess. —Bees manager Keith Johnson
OMAHA, Neb. — Salt Lake Bees playoff baseball is not for the faint of heart. Salt Lake dropped the first two games of the PCL championship to Omaha in heartbreaking fashion, 3-2 and 2-1, on Wednesday.
The Bees have played six playoff games this season and all six have been decided by a single run.
“Obviously, we would like to be on the winning side of a one-run ballgame, but this is what it is — cardiac kids I guess,” Bees manager Keith Johnson said.
In a continuation of Tuesday night’s rain-suspended Game 1, Omaha rallied late to win the first game of the series. The Storm Chasers scored a run the bottom of the seventh and added another in the bottom of the eighth to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 advantage. Omaha reliever Michael Mariot sat down the Bees in order with two strikeouts in the top of the ninth to collect the save for the home team.
Just a few hours after Irving Falu scored the winning run in Game 1, the two teams took to the field at Werner Park again for Game 2. Efren Navarro scored in the top of the fourth on a Scott Cousins single to center to put the Bees up 1-0 early. Unfortunately for the Bees, the bats went cold following Cousins' RBI. Salt Lake only got one more hit, a single from Tommy Field in the eighth inning, for the rest of the night.
Just like it did in the early game, Omaha battled back in the bottom of the seventh as Ray Navarro scored to tie the game up. Following the score Omaha, loaded the bases with just one out, but relievers Fernando Cabrera and newly arrived Roberto Coello, up from Arkansas on an injury rehab from Los Angeles, were able to limit the damage to just a single run.
Bees reliever Chad Cordero got the team through the eighth inning, but gave up a home run on a 1-1 pitch to Brian Fletcher in the bottom of the ninth that gave Omaha a 2-1 win and a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five series.
“We’re all right. We’ve got a lot of fight in us,” Johnson said. “All year we’ve been doing it at home so now we have our backs up against the wall. It’s our turn to go home and try to get it done.”
The two clubs will take Thursday off to travel to Salt Lake City and will resume the series Friday night at Spring Mobile Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 with fireworks after the game.
“Those are our fans,” Johnson said of coming back to Salt Lake. “They’ve been supporting us all year, so we’re looking forward to getting back in front of them.”