SINGLETON SLAMS MAMMOTH HOMER
RedHawks first baseman Jon Singleton, not ultra-talented, five-tool center fielder George Springer, was the higher rated prospect entering the season.
Singleton supplied a glimpse of his potential in a 7-4 loss to Omaha on Thursday night in Game 2 of a Pacific Coast League semifinal series at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Singleton's mammoth three-run homer capped a four-run fourth that gave Oklahoma City a 4-2 lead the Storm Chasers erased with a five-run sixth inning.
On Baseball America's preseason top 100 list, Singleton was the No. 27 prospect, Springer the No. 37 overall prospect. Carlos Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, is the Astros' highest-rated prospect. Ranked 13th among all prospects, Correa spent this season in low Class A as an 18-year-old shortstop.
THAMES JOINING REDHAWKS
The Houston Astros have claimed 26-year-old outfielder Eric Thames off waivers. Thames is expected to be in the RedHawks starting lineup for Game 3 Friday night in Omaha. Jimmy Paredes will return to shortstop.
Thames has hit .250 in 576 major league at bats the past two seasons with Toronto and Seattle.
Thames was traded to Baltimore before the All-Star break but on Sunday was designated for assignment by the Orioles.
Thursday night's game will be the final game this season at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark unless the RedHawks win three consecutive games in Omaha to advance to the PCL finals.
If Oklahoma City rallies to win the series, the RedHawks would host Games 1 and 2 of the PCL finals Tuesday night and Wednesday night against the winner of the Salt Lake City-Las Vegas series.
SHORT HOPS ...
Japhet Amador, the 310-pound, 26-year-old slugger the Astros signed late in the season out of the Mexican League, is hitting .275 in a dozen games with the RedHawks. Amador is 14-for-51. All 14 hits have been singles. ... This is the first time since 1999 that Omaha and the RedHawks have met in the playoffs. The RedHawks, then an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, won that series to advance to the PCL finals.
GAME 3 IN OMAHA
The PCL semifinal series shifts to Werner Park in Omaha for Game 3 Friday night. If necessary, Game 4 would be played Saturday night, Game 5 on Sunday afternoon. Oklahoma City will start right-hander Jake Buchanan (5-5, 3.89) in Game 3 against Omaha left-hander Justin Marks (6-13, 4.58). If the RedHawks force Game 4, OKC will start right-hander Bobby Doran (3-0, 4.06) against Omaha left-hander Chris Dwyer (10-11, 3.55).
BY MIKE BALDWIN