September 2, 2014

Omaha Storm Chasers win their fourth straight division title

The Omaha Storm Chasers (75-67) clinched a franchise record fourth straight division title, eliminating the Oklahoma City RedHawks with a 13-8 victory over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox to win the American Conference North. The Storm Chasers will face the Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A affiliate) in the American Conference Championship at Werner Park.

Omaha will host Games 1 and 2 of the series this Wednesday and Thursday, with both days having start times of 7:05 p.m., while Games 3-5 will be played at AutoZone Park in Memphis. During the 2014 season, the Storm Chasers and Redbirds split their 16 games at 8-8.

Omaha entered their final series of the season trailing Oklahoma City by 2.0 games, but reeled off four straight wins over the Sky Sox while the RedHawks suffered three straight losses to the Iowa Cubs in Des Moines to help them capture the crown. The Chasers are the only team in the Pacific Coast League to qualify for the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.


Storm Chasers lose but close on first place

Justin Bour had three hits, and drove in four runs to lead a 13-hit attack as New Orleans beat Omaha, 8-5 on Sunday afternoon at Zephyr Field. The Storm Chasers have lost two in a row to fall to 55-52 but gained a half-game in the standings to move to within a half-game of first place Iowa, which was swept for a second straight day in a doubleheader, in the American Conference North Division.

The Zephyrs grabbed a three-run lead in the first inning on a home run by Bour. New Orleans added on a run in the second on a double play grounder, one more in the third on a sacrifice fly by Juan Diaz, and another pair in the fifth on an error and another sac fly ball to extend the lead to 7-1.

Christian Colon started the climb back for the Chasers in the sixth with a homer, his second in 10 days against NOLA starter Andrew Heaney, to trim the margin to five.  In the seventh, Omaha closed the game to 7-4 and then in the eighth, Carlos Peguero homered to cut it to 7-5.  The Zephyrs added an insurance run in their half of the eighth inning for their 11th win in 15 games against Omaha this season.

The series and road trip wrap up Monday night with Omaha left-hander Joe Saunders taking the mound against NOLA right-hander Anthony DeSclafani.

Johnny Giavotella drives in five runs in Chasers win over Sacramento

Johnny Giavotella had three hits, including a home run, and drove in five runs to power Omaha past Sacramento, 10-4, Wednesday night in the third of four games at Raley Field. The Storm Chasers finished with 16 hits to lift their record to 35-31 overall and 17-17 on the road and remain a half-game behind victorious Oklahoma City in the American Conference North Division.

Tyler Ladendorf opened the home first with a triple and scored the game’s first run when Andy Parrino followed with a base hit. Omaha starter John Lamb then walked the next two hitters to load the bases but wriggled out of the jam by striking out Nate Frieman, Shane Peterson and Michael Taylor in succession to squash a potentially big inning and flip the momentum. Omaha answered in the top of the second and went up for good with two-out RBI hits by Whit Merrifield and Paulo Orlando, who extended his road hitting streak to 34 consecutive games, and a wild pitch that scored Jesus Flores to make it a 3-1 game.

Omaha scored again in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Christian Colon that was followed by Giavotella’s three-run shot that opened the lead to 7-2 and knocked Sacramento starter Matt Buschmann out of the game after 3 1/3 innings during which he yielded nine hits, walked three and fanned four. Giavotella doubled home a pair and scored on a wild pitch to expand the visitors advantage to 10-2 in the eighth.

Omaha loses, but hangs a half game out for the division lead

Michael Taylor’s two-run single capped off a three-run sixth inning rally to help the Sacramento River Cats to a 3-2 win over Omaha Tuesday night in the second of four meetings at Raley Field. The Storm Chasers dipped to 34-31 overall and 16-17 away from home but did not lose any ground in the American Conference North Division standings after both Oklahoma City and Iowa were defeated, as well. The Chasers remain a half game out of first.

The Storm Chasers scored in the third inning on an RBI single by Paulo Orlando, who extended his road hitting streak to 33 games and then scored on a Johnny Giavotella base hit.

Sacramento ended a 19-inning scoreless stretch for Omaha hurlers when the River Cats loaded the bases with one out on singles by Jake Elmore and Andy Parrino and an error by shortstop Jimmy Paredes, his first of the season. Elmore scored to trim the deficit to 2-1 on a passed ball that also advanced the other runners. Nate Frieman then struck out before the visitors elected to walk Shane Peterson to re-load the bases for Taylor, who singled in the go-ahead runs. s.

Royals sending third baseman Mike Moustakas to Omaha. Top prospect hitting just .152 in the majors

The Kansas City Royals have optioned third baseman Mike Moustakas to Triple-A Omaha. In a corresponding roster move, infielder/outfielder Jimmy Paredes will be recalled prior to Friday’s game in Anaheim.

Paredes, 25, has played in four games with the Royals this season, going 0-for-1 with two runs scored and two stolen bases as a pinch runner. He is hitting .327 (35-for-107) with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers and 17 RBI in 26 games with the Storm Chasers.

Moustakas, 25, is hitting .152 in 125 plate appearances. After a 2 for 3 performance against Baltimore in which he drove in three runs back on May 14, he has slumped going 1 for his last 13.