Omaha ended its longest scoring drought of the season Monday night, but not until Memphis was well on the way to its third consecutive rout of the Storm Chasers.
The 7-1 Redbirds victory in front of 5,829 at Werner Park — and at least 200 dogs on the first Bark at the Park night — put Omaha the furthest out of first place it's been since the franchise was still the Royals and playing at Rosenblatt Stadium.
“You're going to go through stretches like this and just hope they don't last too long,” Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said. “We just need to be a little more aggressive offensively and make things happen.”
Memphis is 4 1/2 games ahead of the Chasers in the American Conference North. Omaha was 5 1/2 games out of first on Aug. 8, 2010.
That 2010 deficit could be matched Tuesday if the Chasers (25-31) lose the fifth and final game of the series.
Memphis (30-27) already has won both series at Omaha for the first time since 2009. After being swept and going scoreless in a doubleheader Sunday, the Chasers' scoring woes continued until the seventh inning Monday.
The scoring slump ended at 21 2⁄3 innings. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, second baseman Chase Lambin ripped a triple to right-center field and scored on a groundout to shortstop by Chad Tracy.
Lambin, who joined Omaha on Saturday from an independent league team coached by former Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals star Gary Gaetti, is providing an offensive spark that Jirschele hopes is contagious. Lambin also had a single in the second inning.
“He’s been swinging the bat well,” Jirschele said. “I talked to Gary Gaetti and he had praises for him for his offense. He said this guy can hit. Hopefully that can catch on with the rest of the club.”
Memphis got off to a faster start Monday. In the top of the first, leadoff hitter Ryan Jackson had a bloop single to shallow left field. Center fielder Justin Christian then laid down a bunt.
Christian got to first before the ball, but the throw by Chasers starter Chris Dwyer sailed wide, allowing the runners to move up a base.
Jackson then scored and Christian moved to third when Lambin scooped up Dwyer’s errant toss and had a wild throw. Brock Peterson scored Christian on the next at-bat with an RBI groundout to third base.
The Redbirds also scored twice in the fifth and seventh innings and had a single run in the third.
“We have to take care of the ball defensively, and the walks hurt us,” Jirschele said. “These guys just seem real comfortable against our pitching right now. They’re swinging the bats well.
“On the other hand, offensively, you have to give them credit. They’ve got some good arms over there, and we saw that the last time we played them, and they’ve been winning the battle.”
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