ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Omaha Storm Chasers extended their winning streak to four games with a doubleheader sweep of Albuquerque by identical 6-3 scores Wednesday night to move into first place in the PCL’s American Conference North.
Omaha started the season 0-3, but is on a roll heading into Thursday’s noon CDT game with the Isotopes that wraps up an opening eight-game road trip.
The Chasers’ home opener at Werner Park is Friday, a 7:05 p.m. game with Nashville.
Chris Dwyer, pitching on his 25th birthday, was strong through six innings in the second game, allowing two runs on three hits. David Lough went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Max Ramirez slugged his second homer of the year, continuing his domination of the Isotopes. In 21 games against Albuquerque since the start of last season, Ramirez has 10 homers and 36 RBIs.
Lough had two hits in the opening game as well. Christian Colon went 3 for 4 and Ramirez and Anthony Seratelli each added two hits in support of Will Smith (1-1), who allowed three runs on six hits in five innings to get the win. Louis Coleman worked two scoreless innings for the save.
Veteran Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly made a rehabilitation start for Albuquerque in game two and was hampered by three errors in the first inning; two of which, combined with a base hit and a double steal, led to Omaha’s first two runs. Lilly was charged with six runs — five earned — on eight hits in six innings. He struck out five.
Scott Van Slyke homered twice in the second game for the Isotopes and is hitting a PCL-best .625 for the season. Dwyer had held the Isotopes hitless until Van Slyke’s one-out homer in the fourth inning.
In game one, the Chasers jumped on Albuquerque starter Stephen Fife for three runs in the first inning. They loaded the bases on a hit, a walk and an error before Seratelli singled in two runs and Brett Hayes added a sacrifice fly.
The Isotopes countered with Van Slyke’s RBI double in the bottom of the first and run-producing hits by Alfredo Amezaga and Elian Herrera to tie it 3-3 in the second.
Fife retired 11 of 12 batters before being victimized by his defense again in the fifth. Paulo Orlando reached to start the inning on shortstop Dee Gordon’s second throwing error of the game, advanced to third on a Lough single and scored the go-ahead run on a Colon single.
Just two of the six runs allowed by Fife were earned.
Albuquerque had won its first four games of the season before dropping the first three games of this series.
Meanwhile, Omaha swept a doubleheader for the first time since August 2008.
In the series finale, Omaha left-hander Ryan Verdugo (0-1, 18.00) faces Albuquerque right-hander Blake Johnson (0-0, 9.00).