The Omaha Storm Chasers (56-57) maintained their 2.0 game lead in the American Conference North with a 4-2 win against the Tacoma Rainers (60-53), their seventh win in the last eight games and ninth consecutive win at Cheney Stadium. Omaha has allowed only three runs in the first three games of the four-game series with Seattle’s top affiliate.
Omaha left-hander Everett Teaford earned his second win as a starter this season by tossing five innings of two-run ball, and also extended his streak of starts without taking the loss to 20 dating back to April of the 2011 season. During that span of 20 starts, Teaford has allowed only 20 earned runs in 100.1 total innings good for a 1.79 ERA. The Storm Chasers are 9-3 in his 12 starts this season, and the southpaw struck out his second most batters in a Triple-A outing with eight Rainiers batters fanned.
The Omaha offense jumped all over Mariners top prospect James Paxton for four runs, including a two-RBI single by Ben Broussard in the first inning. Broussard has 16 hits and is batting .457 during his current nine-game hitting streak (16-for-35), and in that stretch he has racked up seven of his 13 RBI this season. The hitting streak has raised his average from .183 to .284.
The bullpen came up large in the win, tossing four scoreless innings to finish off the victory. Left-hander Francisley Bueno worked out of a base-loaded, no outs situation in the sixth after Maikel Cleto walked the bases full. Right-hander Michael Mariot entered the game following Bueno and struck out the side in the eighth, then punched-out Jesus Montero with the tying runs on second and third base in the ninth to earn his team-leading eighth save of the season.
The Storm Chasers are 11-4 since the All-Star Break, and have won six of their seven road games in that time. Omaha had 14 strikeouts on the night to increase the league-leading total to 928, only the seventh time this season they have amassed 14+ in a game. The Chasers are on pace to total 1,193 strikeouts in 2013, which would shatter the team record of 1,082 set just last season.
Omaha will look for the first series sweep of the 2013 season, and second in as many trips to Cheney Stadium, as they send out left-hander Danny Duffy (2-0, 4.50) in the series finale Friday night. Duffy will match up with Rainiers right-hander Andrew Carraway (6-4, 4.45) with first pitch scheduled for 9:00 p.m. CDT,