SALT LAKE CITY — There was no late-inning magic for the Omaha Storm Chasers this time.
There just wasn't a chance.
Salt Lake rode a two-hit shutout by Jarrett Grube and knocked out 17 hits to post a 9-0 Game 3 victory Friday night at Spring Mobile Park, cutting Omaha's lead in the best-of-five PCL championship series to 2-1.
Game 4 is Saturday night at 7:35.
The Chasers won the first two games of the series Wednesday with stirring, last at-bat victories at Werner Park.
But Omaha's streaks of seven straight wins (a season high) — which included two must-win games to close the regular season and five straight in the playoffs — came to an end.
“A lot of games are how they start,” Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said. “They got momentum early and kept adding on and we never got anything going.
“Now we've got to try to battle to get one of these next two.”
Grube was rocked for six runs — five earned — on five hits and six walks in 31⁄3 innings in Omaha's 6-3 win in Salt Lake City on Aug. 4.
But the 31-year-old right-hander, who has never pitched at the major league level, was near his best Friday.
Grube, who had never recorded a shutout in 10 minor league seasons, struck out the side in the sixth inning and finished with a season-high 11 strikeouts. He walked one.
Omaha's only hits were Brian Fletcher's second-inning double and Christian Colon's fourth-inning single. After walking Fletcher to lead off the fifth, Grube retired the final 15 batters in a row.
“He pitched well against us and just shut us down,” Jirschele said. “He used both sides of the plate and changed speeds. We didn't take many good swings against him.”
Grube also pitched well in his first postseason start, giving up one run on four hits in five innings for a no-decision against Las Vegas in the Pacific Conference series. He was 7-5 with a 4.47 ERA during the regular season.
Efren Navarro, Roberto Lopez, Matt Long and Drew Heid all had three-hit games — Navarro drove in four runs and Lopez hit a two-run homer — to pace the Bees' offense. Salt Lake had just nine combined hits in Games 1 and 2.
The Bees scored two runs each in the second, fourth and sixth innings, then added three in the seventh.
Scott Cousins led off the second inning with a double and moved to third on an error by right fielder Anthony Seratelli. Heid followed with a single for the game's first run.
Heid moved to second on a sacrifice by Luke Carlin and to third on a Rusty Ryal ground out. Then Heid scored on a throwing error by third baseman Rey Navarro on what would have been the final out of the inning.
“That second inning jump-started them,” Jirschele said.
Omaha starter Justin Marks escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third inning, but the Bees doubled their lead to 4-0 in the fourth as Lopez connected on a two-out, two-run homer. Marks had retired the first two batters in the inning before Long singled.
Marks worked 42⁄3 innings, allowing four runs — three earned — on nine hits while waking three and striking out four. Marks had dominated (seven innings, two runs, two hits, nine strikeouts) in picking up a regular-season win against the Bees.
“He had a rough night,” Jirschele said. “(Lacked) command. Got behind (in the count). Left too many pitches up.
“And we didn't help him in the second inning.”
Omaha's bullpen — airtight through its first five playoff games — couldn't close the door.
The Bees added two more runs in the sixth off Everett Teaford. Tommy Field, Long and Lopez all singled to load the bases, and then the red-hot Efren Navarro followed with a two-out, two-run single to make it 6-0.
Against reliever Spencer Patton in the seventh, Heid singled and stole second base, Carlin walked, then Ryal drove in a run with a single. One out later, Long singled to load the bases. Reliever Ryan Verdugo struck out Lopez, but Navarro followed with a two-run single to make it 9-0.