Anthony Lerew and Victor Marte combined to hold Colorado Springs to a single run and the Omaha Royals took the series opener 4-1 Monday night before 2,622 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Lerew (3-2) scattered nine hits – all but one of them singles and the only one that did damage was Matt Miller’s RBI single in the third that gave the Sky Sox a brief 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, the Royals tied the contest on Alex Gordon’s two-out RBI single and Kila Ka’aihue followed by smashing a 1-0 pitch from Kurt Birkins (1-2) over the wall just to the left of the batters eye. It was the team-leading eighth homer for Ka’aihue, giving him 25 RBI in 28 games with Omaha.
Omaha scored an unneeded insurance run in the seventh when Rockies rehabbing righty Taylor Buchholz walked Jordan Parraz with the bases full.
Victor Marte was dominant the final two innings to pick up his second save. The big right-hander threw seven strikes in a perfect eighth, striking out two batters. He yielded a leadoff single and nothing else in the ninth, fanning the final two Sky Sox that he faced.
Gordon wound up going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Irving Falu had a pair of singles in four trips and scored a run.
Omaha (21-21) improved to 3-2 on the home stand, while Colorado Springs (20-23) dropped to 0-5 on its current road trip.
Game two of the series is Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. The pitching matchup has Sky Sox left-hander Brandon Durden (0-2, 12.00) vs. Royals righty Philip Humber (2-3, 4.56).