Christian Colon stopped worrying about individual production and focused more on team results.
The effect has benefited both parties.
Colon singled through a drawn-in infield to break a seventh-inning tie Sunday, igniting a three-run rally in Omaha's 4-1 victory against Nashville in front of 5,562 at Werner Park.
It was the second hit of the game for the former first-round draft choice, giving him three two-hit games in his last four. He's hitting .311 in July to raise his average to .253.
“I think the main thing for me was to just worry about the team — just win,” Colon said. “That's the player I was when I got drafted. It was never about myself, it was about winning.”
The Storm Chasers have done plenty of winning lately, too.
Counting the completion of a suspended game, Omaha is 9-3 since the All-Star break and 18-9 since June 29. The Chasers, back in first place in the PCL's American Conference North, will attempt to sweep the four-game series with the last-place Sounds on Monday night.
“We've got a group of guys going out there playing hard every day, having fun,” Colon said. “The goal is to keep going. Make the playoffs and go all the way. We've got guys who are on board.”
An RBI single by Max Ramirez and a bases-loaded walk to Manny Pina completed the seventh-inning rally that extended Omaha's winning streak four games, tying a season high.
It was in doubt at the end, though, as reliever Donnie Joseph walked the bases loaded but struck out the side in the ninth inning to add some excitement to his fifth save.
“You just can't let that happen,” Chasers manager Mike Jirschele said. “You've got to make them hit the ball to beat you.”
But Nashville didn't, something plenty of PCL teams are having trouble doing against Omaha.
Joseph struck out four in his two innings, combining with Danny Duffy and Francisley Bueno to strike out 13 — adding to the Chasers' PCL-leading total. Omaha is on pace to shatter the franchise record for strikeouts in a season.
“But there's a fine line there,” Jirschele said. “You can get your strikeouts, but you have to continue to pound the zone. When you get two strikes on them, you can't bring that count back to even or go to a full count.
“I think there's times where we get into trouble trying to get strikeouts.”
Duffy pitched five shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out seven. The left-hander, 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery, has a 4.50 ERA in nine appearances with Omaha, including 2.25 his last six times out.
“Not sharp,” Jirschele said. “Lacked command. You've got to figure out what the umpire is calling and what he's not calling and go to work from there.”
Duffy, still on a 95-pitch limit, had 52 strikes among his 87 pitches as Kansas City is apparently staying cautious in bringing the talented 24-year-old along.
“It's not like they need him there right now, and he's got to get to the point where he can throw all his pitches for strikes consistently,” Jirschele said.
The Chasers scored in the bottom of the first inning, after Ramirez started a two-out rally with a single.
The slow-footed Ramirez wasn't being held on. He was running on a 1-2 pitch and scored from first on Ben Broussard's fly-ball double, as left fielder Eugenio Velez tried to make a diving catch.
It was the only extra-base hit among Omaha's 11 hits.
“We don't have a whole lot of pop right now,” Jirschele said. “We're getting our hits, but we've got to bunch our hits together or we don't score. We're not getting enough extra-base hits.”
After Nashville tied the game in the top of the seventh, the Chasers answered. Gorkys Hernandez walked and made it to second safely as catcher Anderson DeLaRosa's throw to second base was off target on Paulo Orlando's sacrifice bunt. Irving Falu walked to load the bases.
Then Colon came through.
“Earlier in the year, he was putting a lot of pressure on himself,” Jirschele said. “He's made great strides offensively. He's giving you at least three good at-bats a game.”
Storm tracking: Top pitching prospect Yordano Ventura won’t make his scheduled start Tuesday, Jirschele said, after the right-hander “tweaked” a hamstring in his outing Thursday. … Infielder Johnny Giavotella, who has missed the last five games with a hip injury, will have an MRI exam Monday. … Utility player Anthony Seratelli is still out after spraining an ankle Saturday. … Just before the start of the second inning, there was a six-minute delay as Sounds manager Mike Guerrero received attention from trainers in the dugout. He was then carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for precautionary reasons. Guerrero was back in the Nashville clubhouse after the game. … Velez was called out on his sixth-inning bunt for stepping out of the batter’s box before making contact. “I’ve never seen that called,” Jirschele said.