The Omaha Royals erupted for five runs in the first inning and cruised to an 8-1 win over Colorado Springs in front of 2,395 fans Wednesday night at Rosenblatt Stadium. The Royals have won four in a row to improve to 5-2 on the homestand, while the Sky Sox have lost seven straight, all coming on their current trip to Iowa and Nebraska.
Colorado Springs starter Chaz Roe (1-7) was shellacked for eight runs on nine hits – including three home runs – in just three innings of work. His seven losses are tied for most in the Pacific Coast League.
The second batter he faced, David Lough, cranked a home run just to the right of the batters eye for the first run. An RBI single by Jordan Parraz made it 2-0 and Scott Thorman followed with a three-run homer to right-center to cap the big first frame.
Lough tripled into the right field corner with two outs in the second and scored on Alex Gordon’s RBI single to put Omaha on top 6-0. Kurt Mertins’ first Triple-A round-tripper – a two-run shot in the third – completed the Royals’ scoring.
Omaha starter Luis Mendoza (3-2) won his third consecutive start, scattering seven hits over six scoreless innings. He walked just one and struck out two. The 26-year old right-hander, who began the year in Kansas City’s bullpen, owns a 1.00 ERA in his last three outings (two earned runs over 18 innings).
Matt Herges and Greg Holland each tossed a scoreless stanza of relief, but the Royals were denied a shutout in the ninth when Colorado Springs scored an unearned run off Josh Rupe. The run was set up by the first error by Gordon in his conversion from third base to left field. Gordon appeared to have run down Paul Lo Duca’s drive to left-center field, but it popped out of his glove for an E-7. Former Royal Travis Metcalf plated the run with a grounder to short.
Omaha (23-21) will try to sweep the four-game series Thursday night from Colorado Springs (20-25), which is 8-16 in the month of May. A victory on Thursday would equal the Royals’ longest winning streak of the season at five games.
The pitching matchup for the 6:35 p.m. contest has tough Sky Sox righty Alan Johnson (4-1, 2.25) vs. Royals right-hander Gaby Hernandez (3-4, 7.03).