Justin Bour collected three hits, drove in four runs and scored twice to pace a 13-hit attack as New Orleans jumped out to a big early lead and hung on to defeat Omaha, 8-5, Sunday afternoon and evening in the third of four contests at Zephyr Field. The Storm Chasers have dropped to two in a row to fall to 55-52 but gained a half-game in the standings to move to within a half-game of first place Iowa, which was swept in a doubleheader for a second straight day, in the American Conference North Division.
After spotting the Storm Chasers a three-run lead in each of the first two games of the series, the Zephyrs grabbed a three-run edge in the first inning on a home run by Bour, the sixth allowed by Omaha starter Clay Mortensen over his last three turns. The visitors got on the board in the second on a Francisco Pena long ball, his ninth of the month and 22nd of the season. The Z’s tacked on a run in the second on a double play grounder, one more in the third on a sacrifice fly by Juan Diaz, the hero from their comeback win on Saturday night, and another pair in the fifth on an error and another Diaz scoring fly ball to extend the lead to 7-1. The veteran right-hander was tagged with the loss after he permitted five earned runs on nine hits, walked one and struck out three over his five frames and was replaced by Scott Alexander, who was making his Triple-A debut. The left-hander allowed three hits, walked two and fanned a pair over two scoreless innings and stranded the bases loaded in the sixth by getting Kyle Jensen to ground out.
Christian Colon started the climb back for the Chasers in the sixth with a homer, his second in 10 days against NOLA starter Andrew Heaney, to trim the margin to five and extend his hitting streak against the hosts to 22 straight games. Johnny Giavotella followed with a walk and scored on a double by Carlos Peguero, his first extra-base hit and second RBI in 59 at-bats against a lefty pitcher this year. Peguero moved up on a wild pitch but did not score after Heaney fanned the next three hitters in succession to finish off his six innings of work during which he gave up six hits, walked one and matched a season-best with nine strike outs to earn the victory.
Bryan Evans took over in the seventh and surrendered a Colon sacrifice fly that brought the visitors within 7-4 before Peguero opened with the eighth with a round tripper to trim the deficit to two. The Z’s added an insurance run in their half of the eighth against Casey Coleman after Zack Cox tripled and scored on a Bour ground out. Chaz Roe retired the side in order in the ninth to sew up the Z’s 11th win in 15 games against Omaha this season.