The Omaha Storm Chasers (60-60) ended their three-game losing skid with a 9-4 win over the Sacramento River Cats (65-55), as the Chasers had their biggest inning at Werner Park this season with eight runs in the fifth to halt the River Cats eight-game winning streak. With the win and a pair of Memphis losses, Omaha now owns a 3.0 game lead in the division with 24 games left.
The nine runs were more than enough support for Royals top prospect Yordano Ventura, who posted his first career scoreless start at the Triple-A level at six innings allowing four hits and a walk while matching a Triple-A high with nine strikeouts. Ventura has allowed only four runs in his last 25.0 innings over five starts (1.44 ERA), and during that stretch he has totaled 32 strikeouts. In 54.2 innings so far with Omaha the young flamethrower has totaled 59 strikeouts, good for a 9.71 strikeout per nine innings ratio.
After plating the first run of the game in the fourth on a RBI double by Paulo Orlando, his team-leading 20th RBI since the start of July, the Storm Chasers offense sent 11 batters up in the fifth inning to put up the game-deciding eight spot. The inning included seven hits and four for extra bases, including a three-run homer by leftfielder Brian Fletcher as the major blow in the frame. Fletcher has three homers in his first 11 games with Omaha, and in his last 16 games overall at Double-A and Triple-A he has totaled seven long balls.
Five Storm Chasers notched a multi-hit game on the night, including infielder Irving Falu who extended his on-base streak to 29 games matching the longest streak for any player in the Pacific Coast League this season. The Omaha pitching staff struck out 12 Sacramento batters, the 11th time in the last 15 games they have reached double-digit strikeouts, to became the first team in the league to reach 1,000 punch-outs (currently at 1,001 with team record at 1,082 set just last season).
Omaha will look to keep the momentum going as left-hander Chris Dwyer (8-9, 3.28 ERA), who has posted four straight quality starts and has given up only six earned runs in his last 25.0 innings. Dwyer will match up with River Cats right-hander Bruce Billings (11-5, 4.04 ERA) with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.