After taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning, Everett Teaford has now made 16 straight starts without a loss for the Omaha Storm Chasers over the past three seasons.
Still, the left-hander didn't emerge with a victory Monday night.
Teaford gave up back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 1 in the seventh inning, but Omaha finally won 2-1 in the 12th on an RBI single by Max Ramirez.
“You just want to be able to give the team a chance to win,” Teaford said.
The Chasers eventually did as Chris Getz led off the 12th with a walk, moved to second on Christian Colon’s PCL-leading 10th sacrifice bunt, then scored as left fielder Jake Smolinski fielded the Ramirez hit and threw home, hitting the sliding Getz in the elbow.
It was a second straight dominant pitching performance for Omaha, following the combined five-hit shutout spun by Kelvin Herrera, Danny Duffy and Louis Coleman on Sunday.
But Omaha’s offense has managed just five runs in the two wins. Ramirez drove in both runs Monday, before 3,423 at Werner Park.
“Teaford deserved to win, the way he threw the ball,” Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said. “But you’re not going to win too many games by a lot when you don’t get one extra-base hit.”
New Orleans’ Gil Velazquez doubled past a diving Irving Falu, just inside the third-base bag, to break up the no-hit bid. Two pitches later, Smolinski doubled off the left-field wall to tie the game.
The loquacious Teaford said he was well aware that he was in pursuit of a no-hitter, and his teammates were observing superstition and avoided him in the dugout between innings.
“Nobody wanted to talk to me,” Teaford said. “And that’s too bad.”
Teaford had started once previously against New Orleans this season, pitching four perfect innings May 2. So, as a starter, Teaford pitched 10 innings against New Orleans before surrendering a hit.
“They’re probably thinking this guy is the greatest pitcher ever,” Teaford said laughing. “But really, it was just one of those lucky nights. Next time, they could knock me around.”
He worked 6 1⁄3 innings Monday, striking out nine for his Class AAA high and walking one. Including three relief appearances, Teaford has a 1.76 ERA in 15 1⁄3 innings against the Zephyrs this season.
After issuing a one-out, first-inning walk to Gil Velazquez, Teaford retired the next 17 Zephyrs.
“He was outstanding,” Jirschele said. “Threw his off-speed for strikes and used both sides of the plate with his fastball. He just kept them off stride, got them to chase with two strikes ... just an outstanding job.”
Teaford’s ERA is at 2.65 for the season, which would lead the PCL except he’s 13 1⁄3 innings short of qualifying.
After Smolinski tied the game, Louis Coleman escaped the jam by getting two outs and stranding Smolinski at third.
“I told Coleman I knew he was going to give up a hit so I was going to go ahead and give one up and get it out of the way,” Teaford said, again joking. “But I wasn’t planning on giving up back-to-back doubles, so that part of the plan didn’t turn out right.”
Teaford, used in a variety of roles — frequently as a spot starter or long reliever — has gone 6-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his 16 starts for Omaha dating to April 11, 2011. He lost his first two Omaha starts, one in 2010 and then his 2011 debut.
“I feel very confident every night he goes out there that he’s going to keep us in the game,” said Jirschele, who then poked fun at his struggling offense and added, “and with our potent offense, you know he’s got a good chance to win.”
Teaford, Coleman, Donnie Joseph and Michael Mariot (2-4) combined to strike out 19 batters, the most for an Omaha team since at least 1999. Every batter struck out at least once for New Orleans, which played Sunday in Round Rock.
“Teaford had the outstanding night, you know Coleman is going to pick up some strikeouts (four) with his slider, and Joseph (four) has a nice slider, too,” Jirschele said. “And not to take anything away from our guys, but I’m sure their guys were tired after traveling all day, too.”
Omaha had a chance get more runs in the first inning, when it scored one but had two runners thrown out at the plate.
Getz led off with a single and moved to third on a two-base throwing error on pitcher Matt Neil’s pickoff attempt. But Colon tapped weakly to first base and Getz was doubled up at home trying to score on the play.
Then Anthony Seratelli reached on an error, stole second base and scored on a Ramirez single. Falu walked and then Willy Taveras singled to center, but Ramirez was thrown out at the plate for the final out.
“With two outs, you hope maybe they throw the ball wide,” Jirschele said. “Two outs, you take a chance.”
Omaha had a chance to win in the 10th, loading the bases with one out. But reliever Chris Hatcher (1-2) got Falu to ground sharply into an inning-ending double play.
STORM TRACKING: Omaha's Danny Duffy was named the PCL's pitcher of the week on Monday. The left-hander appeared in two games, winning both, pitching 1023 scoreless innings while allowing five hits and three walks and striking out 11. ... Mariot pitched for the first time since June 20 and for just the second time since June 14.