OMAHA, Neb. -- The Rochester Red Wings have reached the season's ninth inning. With last night's 9-7 loss to the Omaha Royals, the Red Wings trail the best-of-seven Triple-A Classic, three games to one.
The Royals, who had a 7-3 lead after five innings, held off the Red Wings, who had runners at first and second and none out in the ninth inning.
"This encourages us more," losing pitcher Mickey Weston said. "We think, 'Wait a second, they may be ahead, 3-1, but they're not that much better.' If we could have executed at a couple of different times..."
But the Red Wings didn't. They left five runners on base through three innings. Left fielder Tony Chance committed a two-base error on Thad Reece's single, and Reece ended up stealing home for a 7-3 lead.
"It's disappointing because we kept coming back," said shortstop Marty Brown, who homered in the second inning, singled and scored in the fifth and hit into double plays in the seventh and ninth innings. "We're always like that."
Right-hander Brian Holton (1-4 regular season) is scheduled to start for the Red Wings tonight. "I've got to keep things in control," he said.
Weston was ineffective and left before recording an out in the fourth inning.
The Red Wings began a comeback with Shane Turner's RBI single in the sixth.
Ken Shamburg and Tony Chance singled home runs in the seventh off reliever Luis Encarnacion that cut the Royals' lead to 7-6.
Eric Bell, who didn't get out of the first inning in his start against the Columbus Clippers in the Governors' Cup playoffs, pitched 4 2/3 innings of relief.
Bell's wild pitch with two out and Chito Martinez on first helped the Royals score their ninth run, as Jeff Garber followed with a double for a 9-7 lead.
Bell allowed seven hits, as the Royals reached double figures in hits (19) for the third straight game.
The game had the potential of a mismatch, with veteran Weston, 11-1 with a 1.98 ERA during the season and 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in the playoffs, against Archie Corbin, making his first Class AAA start.
It wasn't Buster Douglas against Mike Tyson, but for four innings, it was a close second.
While Corbin had minimal trouble with the Red Wings, Weston struggled.
The right-hander gave up 11 hits and left trailing, 6-3, with runners on first and third and none out in the fourth.
The Red Wings collected 14 hits, seven off three relievers. Jay Baller, the third pitcher, worked his third straight game.
"We were never comfortable," Royals manager Sal Rende said. "We've been going to our bullpen so much lately, sooner or later you're bound not to be able to hold them. I was afraid [last night] might be the night."