Mike Montgomery could have been pulled after his 103rd pitch, which was ball 4 to Angel Sanchez in the 7th inning. That was Montgomery’s 3rd walk of the night and his 2nd of the inning. No one would have faulted Mike Jirschele for pulling him, but he elected to leave Monty in the deep water to see if he’d swim. He did not. Instead, he walked OKC third baseman Scott Moore to load the bases with two outs.
On the radio, Mark Nasser and Brett Pollock described that batter as a “developmental moment” for Montgomery. Again, hey, pulling Monty after the walk to Sanchez would have been totally fine, and I doubt anyone on earth would have questioned the move. But it was good to see what Montgomery would do with a bit of pressure and a high pitch count. Kudos to Jirsch for having the guts to find out. (Ultimately, none of those runners scored. Brandon Sisk came through with a clutch strikeout to end the 7th.)
Montgomery’s line tonight: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R (all earned), 4 BB(3 in the 7th inning), 3 K, 3 HR.
The Storm Chasers led by two heading into the 9th, but OKC strung together 4 singles among three strikeouts. Those four singles somehow turned into four runs, and all of a sudden Omaha trailed by two heading into the bottom of the 9th. They got the two back on home runs by Max Ramirez and Anthony Seratelli.
Another home run by Johnny Giavotella won the game for Omaha in the 10th – hooray!
The fact that Omaha hit three home runs should provide some context for the three that Montgomery gave up – the wind assisted any ball that was hit in the air. Werner Park was a launch pad tonight, so Monty giving up 3 long balls isn’t necessarily as bad as it looks at first blush. It’s still not a number you WANT to see from a top prospect, but not a reason for full-fledged panic.
Photos coming sometime…soon?