Johnny Giavotella drove in three runs in his first game in his hometown this season to lead Omaha to a 5-4 victory over New Orleans Tuesday in the opener of a four-game set at Zephyr Field. The Storm Chasers improved to 4-1 on their current 12-game road trip and to 62-42 overall by knocking off the Zephyrs for the fifth time in eight meetings this year.
Roman Colon opened the seventh inning on the hill for Omaha protecting a 5-3 lead. The veteran right-hander set down the first six batters faced to run his consecutive hitters retired streak to 15 before Donnie Murphy led off the bottom of the ninth with his second home run of the night to slice the lead to the final margin. Colon walked Chris Aguila with two outs but struck out Kevin Mattison to end the game and secure his seventh save of the season.
Murphy got the scoring started in the second inning with a solo home run, the 12th for the former Kansas City farmhand in his first 104 at-bats. The hosts added another run later in the frame on a Jake Odorizzi wild pitch that plated Nick Green, who had reached on a walk and advanced to third base on a play that featured two errors.
The visitors promptly got the runs back in the next half inning. Mitch Maier worked a walk after battling NOLA starter Elih Villanueva for 12 pitches and advanced to third when Irving Falu followed with a double. Giavotella delivered both runners with a single that extended his hitting streak to 19 games, the longest for a Storm Chasers player this season.
Omaha took the lead for good with two outs in the fourth when Max Ramirez blasted a solo shot to left for his 12th homer of the season. Anthony Seratelli’s solo poke in the sixth made it a 4-2 game and gave him a share of the team lead, along with Wil Myers, with 16 round-trippers. Villanueva was saddled with the loss after he gave up the four runs on five hits and a pair of walks, to go along with seven strikeouts, over his six innings of work.
Odorizzi was lifted after back-to-back two-out singles in the home sixth and followed to the hill by Brandon Sisk, who walked Murphy and Green to force in a run that trimmed the lead back to one before Luke Montz grounded out to end the threat. Odorizzi earned the win to lift his record to 7-1 after yielding three runs, two earned, on four hits while walking two and striking out six.
Falu opened the eighth with a base hit, stole second and sped home on a single by Giavotella, who knocked in his 50th run of the season to provide some much-needed insurance for Colon.
The series continues Wednesday night with Omaha right-hander Nate Adcock taking the mound against New Orleans righty J.D. Martin.