OGDEN — Despite three majestic home runs from fourth-round draft pick Brandon Lewis, the Ogden Raptors couldn’t keep up with Idaho Falls’ hitting Saturday night.
The Chukars countered with a pair of big homers and took a rare win against Ogden, claiming a 9-8 victory in front of 4,633 fans at Lindquist Field.
Lewis launched his eighth, ninth and 10th home runs of the season in grand fashion, each time appearing to give the Raptors (39-11, 8-4) new life.
Idaho Falls (25-24, 4-8) took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the third when two Raptors errors helped push across an unearned run.
After an RBI double from Ryan Ward in the bottom of the third tied the game, Lewis stepped in for his first shot. He lifted a skyscraping fly to left field, appearing to go as high as it did far (438 feet), to give Ogden a 4-1 lead.
With two outs in the fifth inning, disaster struck Raptors starter Antonio Hernandez after breezing through 4 2/3 innings. Kember Nacero smoked a liner up the middle that hit Hernandez for an infield single. Three more Chukars singled in succession to cut it to 4-3.
Ogden pulled Hernandez for Drew Finley, who gave up a home run on an 0-2 pitch to Chukars catcher Michael Emodi and, suddenly, Idaho Falls led 6-4 in the fifth.
Lewis answered in the bottom of the fifth for Ogden, lifting a two-run, 448-foot homer over the netting behind the spectator deck in left-center field to tie the game 6-6.
But Finley gave up another home run in the next half inning, this time a two-run shot from Nacero, and Idaho Falls was quickly ahead 8-6.
In the ninth, with the Chukars leading 9-7, Lewis blasted a 441-foot home run to nearly the same place as his second. But the bases were empty, and Jimmy Titus struck out and Zac Ching flew out to follow Lewis, leaving Ogden just short.
Lewis was not retired in the game, finishing 3 for 3 with the three homers, six RBIs and two walks. Ward totaled two hits and two RBIs to round out the scoring.
Hernandez was tagged with five runs in 4 2/3 innings despite giving up only six hits as Ogden’s starter. Finley took the loss, allowing three runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Jose Marquez batted 3 of 5 from the Chukars’ leadoff spot, scoring twice. Emodi drove in four runs for the winners.
The two teams finish their four-game series at 4 p.m. Sunday before Ogden welcomes the Missoula Osprey to Lindquist Field for four games.
While the post-All-Star flurry of transactions passed, right-handed reliever Edward Cuello was sent to single-A Great Lakes for the second time in a week Saturday.