Run support was one thing Omaha pitcher Chris Dwyer didn't have to worry about Friday. Storm Chaser bats were hot from the start on the way to a 6-1 win against Nashville in front of a Werner Park crowd of 8,285.
Dwyer, who had been 0-4 at home since May 23 — including two losses in which his offense produced one run —had a 5-0 lead after three innings. The 6-foot-3 right-hander scattered three hits in seven innings while recording a season-high eight strikeouts and allowing one walk to improve to 7-8.
Dwyer said that though the early lead was nice, his responsibility is to get opponents out regardless of the score.
“It always helps, but my job is to always go out there and keep my team in the game,” he said. “Sometimes you get it. Sometimes you don't. But it's just part of the game.”
It was Dwyer's team-leading 13th quality start of the year, a career high for the PCL All-Star.
Maikel Cleto relieved Dwyer in the eighth and he retired all six batters he faced, striking out four.
The Chasers opened the scoring in the second when Pedro Ciriaco belted a line-drive triple to the gap in left-center that scored Brett Hayes, who had been hit by a Jimmy Nelson pitch to start the inning.
Ciriaco scored three pitches later when Paulo Orlando stroked a hit up the middle to give the Chasers a 2-0 lead. It was Orlando's team-leading 14th RBI in July.
Omaha got three more off Nelson in the third. the first four batters reached base: Following a leadoff walk by Christian Colon, Anthony Seratelli, Ben Broussard and Max Ramirez all singled. Ramirez's hit gave him his team-leading 50th RBI.
Hayes and Ciriaco were also credited with RBIs in the inning as each reached base on a fielder's choice.
Chasers manager Mike Jirschele said getting the early lead helped Dwyer settle into the game.
“Anytime you get a five-run lead, I think there's a little bit more comfort out there on the mound, and you can leave the ball over the plate a little more than if it's a one- or two-run game where they tend to tense up a little bit,” Jirschele said. “But I thought Dwyer throughout the game went right at them, you know, and changed his speeds and did a nice job.”
The win vaulted Omaha (51-56) into a second-place tie with Iowa in the American Conference Northern Division, one game behind first-place Memphis.
Nelson (2-4) gave up five runs and six hits in six innings while striking out five and walking three. After struggling early, Nelson settled down in his final three innings, allowing no hits and walking one.
The Sounds were finally able to nick Dwyer in the fifth inning when Sean Halton blasted a 3-1 offering over the right-field fence to make it 5-1.
Colon gave the Chasers a 6-1 lead in the seventh with a solo blast to left off reliever Brent Leach. It was Colon's 10th home run of the season and his third in three games. He had previously homered in back-to-back games once in his career in 2011 with Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Seratelli was 2 for 2 for the Chasers and stole his 21st and 22nd bases of the season. He has not been caught stealing this year.