Paulo Orlando hit a three-run double in the third inning, and the Omaha Storm Chasers bullpen shut down the New Orleans Zephyrs to claim a 4-3 win on Friday night at Zephyr Field.
In the opener of a franchise-record 13-game homestand, the Z's dropped their fourth consecutive contest and slipped back to the .500 mark with a 53-53 record.
Omaha stranded two runners in the second inning before loading the bases with two outs in the third against Brian Flynn. This time, the Storm Chasers capitalized on the opportunity, as Orlando ripped a double inside the bag at third to clear the bases.
Flynn again loaded the bases in the fourth. The left-hander intentionally walked Johnny Giavotella with two outs to face Carlos Peguero, who then struck out for the third time in as many at-bats to give Omaha seven runners left on base through four innings.
Kyle Jensen got the Zephyrs on the board in the bottom of the frame with an opposite-field homer, a solo shot with two outs. Jensen became the fourth player in the PCL this season to hit 20 home runs, and his 72 RBI rank second in the league.
Omaha quickly regained a three-run cushion in the fifth on a towering home run by Matt Fields, barely eluding the glove of Mark Canha on a timed leap at the left field wall.
The Zephyrs responded in the bottom of the fifth, as Danny Black followed a leadoff single by Kyle Skipworth with his second Triple-A home run to draw the Z's within a run.
The next pitch by Omaha starter John Lamb sailed to the backstop, and his next pitch went behind Juan Diaz, resulting in the ejections of Lamb and Storm Chasers pitching coach Larry Carter.
Whit Merrifield reached on an infield single with one out in the sixth, and Pedro Ciriaco's double spelled the end of Flynn's night. Edgar Olmos came out of the bullpen to strike out Giavotella and Peguero to strand both baserunners, then struck out the side in the seventh.
Following Lamb's ejection, Omaha relievers John Adam and Tim Collins combined to retire 15 of the last 16 Zephyrs batters, with the only baserunner coming with two outs in the eighth when Ed Lucas was hit by a pitch.
Adam (1-1) picked up the win with two perfect frames, and Collins earned his second save by fanning three in three innings.
Flynn (7-7) gave up four runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings to suffer the loss. He struck six and walked two. Olmos and Chaz Roe added seven strikeouts to the Zephyrs' total of 13 for the night, which included five for Peguero and four for Justin Maxwell.
The Zephyrs and Storm Chasers play the second game of the series on Saturday at 6 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.