OMAHA, Neb. -- Through the door that led from the clubhouse to the dugout and the Rosenblatt Stadium field, the Rochester Red Wings could hear the Omaha Royals and their 8,207 fans celebrating the Triple-A Classic championship last night.
Inside, the Red Wings attended to their own business. The minutes after their 9-3 defeat in Game 5 might have been the last they would have together.
As manager Greg Biagini did before the game, the Red Wings thanked each other for a memorable season -- 89 regular-season victories and the Governors' Cup championship.
"We had a great season," said shortstop Marty Brown, whose first-inning error helped the Royals to a 4-0 lead. "We have nothing to hold our heads down about."
"This is the first thing we lost all season," designated hitter Chris Hoiles said. "This would have been another nice step to make. It didn't happen."
Offensively and defensively, the Red Wings didn't play at championship level, either during the series or last night.
After one error in the Governors' Cup series, the Red Wings committed seven in the Classic, leading to five unearned runs. Brown mishandled a double-play ball in the first inning and the Royals scored four runs.
The Red Wings left 46 runners on base in the five games.
"We never got the big hit in the series," Biagini said.
Sometimes they never gave themselves a chance.
Last night, the Red Wings left runners in scoring position in the first and second innings before scoring in the third, but even that inning could have produced more than one run.
Singles by Donell Nixon and Hoiles put runners on third and first with one out against Daryl Smith (1-0). Leo Gomez grounded to the right of third baseman Thad Reece, who made a diving stop. Nixon scored, and Reece threw to second. Hoiles was safe, but overslid the bag and Tommy Hinzo reached back and tagged him. Instead of first and second with one out, the Red Wings had only Gomez on first with two out. Chris Padget ended the inning with a fly ball.