The Omaha Storm Chasers (66-68) could not extend their American Conference North Division lead to 3.0 games with Memphis losing on the night as they fell to the New Orleans Zephyrs (67-67) by a score of 8-4. Omaha has dropped four of their last five games after their division lead reached a season high 5.0 games on August 18.
The Zephyrs jumped right on Omaha starter and MLB Rehabber Felipe Paulino right away, as New Orleans centerfielder Kevin Mattison hit a solo homer to lead off the game. After the Chasers took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first on a two-run single by Brian Fletcher, Paulino gave up another homer to Mattison for a two-run shot in the second. Paulino gave up three more runs in his final three innings, all on two-out RBI doubles, and in his four rehab starts for Omaha the right-hander has allowed 15 runs in 15 innings.
The Storm Chasers attempted to mount a comeback in the seventh inning by scoring two runs and cutting the lead to 6-4, but New Orleans responded in the next half inning with two runs of their own that put the game out of reach for good. During the seventh inning rally for Omaha Christian Colon singled in a run, tying him with Max Ramirez for the team lead at 55 RBI as well as extending his hitting streak to 12 games. The longest hitting streak for the Chasers this season was Xavier Nady’s 14-gamer from May 12 to May 31.
Irving Falu was the only Chaser batter to notch a multi-hit game with three hits, and the run he scored in the first inning broke a tie with Kit Pellow (1998-2002) to move the utility man into sole possession of third place all-time on the Omaha runs list at 304 runs. Falu is the only player in team history to rank in the top ten in games played, hits, runs, RBI, doubles, triples and stolen bases.
With ten games remaining Omaha will seek to extend their division lead tomorrow as young flamethrower Yordano Ventura (5-3, 3.43) takes the hill, and the right-hander has allowed only six earned runs in his last 31.0 innings over six starts while totaling 34 strikeouts over that stretch. Ventura will face off with Zephyrs left-hander Brad Hand (3-5, 3.61) with first pitch set for 6:35 p.m.