More Winning, Less Drama for Omaha
OMAHA, NE - Entering Saturday night's game at Rosenblatt Stadium, the Omaha Royals were riding a season-long, six-game winning streak. Four of those games were decided by a single run, including a 6-5 victory that took 14 innings to secure in Friday night's series opener against Round Rock. It was more of the winning, but less of the drama Saturday, as the Royals blanked the hot-hitting Express 9-0 in front of 5,025 fans.
Anthony Lerew (4-2) won his third consecutive start, combining with two relievers on an eight-hitter for Omaha's third shutout of the year and first since April 17th. Lerew allowed five hits, but no walks, striking out five. The 27-year old right-hander trimmed his ERA from 3.10 to 2.77. He owns a 4-1 record and a 2.28 ERA in his nine starts, after beginning the campaign by going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two relief appearances.
Matt Herges gave up three hits and a walk in the seventh and eighth innings, but kept the shutout intact. Chris Hayes walked the first batter he faced in the ninth, but retired the next three hitters to complete the whitewashing. It was the third time that Round Rock had been blanked this season, but it hadn't happened since April 13th, as the Express were averaging close to seven runs per game in the month of May.
Former Royal Shane Loux (0-1) got hammered in his first start since April 11th after spending more than a month on the disabled list. The right-hander was chased in the second inning, as the Royals sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs. Ed Lucas and Irving Falu drove in the first two runs with singles and Alex Gordon greeted reliever Erick Abreu with a two-run single. Kila Ka'aihue's fielder's choice RBI capped the five-run outburst.
Omaha scored two unearned runs in the fourth off Abreu, with Scott Thorman delivering an RBI single and Jordan Parraz adding a sacrifice fly to make it 7-0. Ka'aihue lined a two-run homer over the left field wall in the eighth inning off Houston prospect Evan Englebrook. Ka'aihue's team-leading ninth home run of the year gave him three RBI in each of the first two games of this series and a club-best 31 RBI in 33 games.
Omaha (26-21) has won seven straight for the first time since June of 2008 and has taken seven in a row at home for the first time since April 2004. On Sunday, the Royals will be trying to improve to 9-2 on the homestand and will be looking to win eight straight for the first time since the '03 campaign. You have to go back to April, 2001 for Omaha's last eight-game win string at Rosenblatt.
The pitching matchup for Sunday's 1:35 p.m. game is Round Rock right-hander Josh Banks (5-3, 3.00) vs. Royals righty Philip Humber (3-3, 4.07).
It's U.S. Bank Family FUNday, with clowns, face painting and balloon art. Subway Kids Club members get in FREE and following the game all kids are invited to run the bases with Casey, presented by Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. Plus, it's a Nebraska College Savings Program "Hit the Books" day: kids who completed the Hit the Books reading program earned a ticket to the game. The day is also presented by KGBI 100.7 FM, Fox 42 and Family Spectrum Magazine.
For tickets, call (402) 738-5100, or print tickets online at www.oroyals.com.
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