In their last game against Memphis on Monday, the 51s benefited from five errors from the Redbirds, cashing in on those errors for a win.
On Wednesday, it was their own defensive performance that hurt them.
The 51s committed three errors and lost a key fly ball in the twilight in a 7-4 loss to Omaha in the series opener at Werner Park.
“Our defense kind of fell apart,” manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “Every time we made a mistake, it cost us runs. (Zach) Borenstein missed a ball in the twilight that kind of hurt us. There was the (Christian Colon) throw back to first base that the runner wound up at third. The ball went into the dugout. (Jack) Reinheimer in the eighth inning and (Kevin) Kaczmarski made errors leading to runs.”
In the fifth inning with the score knotted up at 4-4, left fielder Borenstein lost a ball in the sky that dropped in for a double.
“It just seems like we (get) caught in the twilight either at home in Vegas or on the road,” DeFrancesco said. “The ball goes up, they don’t see it off the bat. They lose it and the guy winds up at first base.”
In this case it was second base and with two outs, Frank Schwindel was tripled home by Elier Hernandez.
That run gave the Storm Chasers (50-58) a permanent lead as the 51s (52-57) couldn’t muster a hit off Jonathan Dziedzic in the final four innings of the game.
“He didn’t look like he had overpowering stuff,” DeFrancesco said of Dziedzic. “He fell behind most of the time, got back in the count. We hit the ball hard a few times. We just couldn’t put anything in play.”
The Storm Chasers added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning thanks in large part to the back-to-back errors from Reinheimer and Kaczmarski.
Prior to the fifth inning, the two teams had been tied.
The Storm Chasers had taken a three-run lead off starter Chris Flexen in the first inning before Las Vegas responded with three of its own on back-to-back home runs in the third from Matt den Dekker and Borenstein.
After Omaha scored in the bottom of the third, Las Vegas responded with a run in the fourth.
Flexen, who gave up just five earned runs in the month of July spanning four starts over 26.0 innings, surrendered five runs — four earned — on Wednesday and took the loss.
“He was in a pretty good groove,” DeFrancesco said. “Stuff just happens. He didn’t have his breaking ball early.”
And with nothing going against the Omaha bullpen and their defense working against them, the 51s couldn’t mount a late comeback.
“We didn’t score runs late,” DeFrancesco said. “It was too tough to come back.”