Round Rock Express Storm Past Omaha 9-2
PAPILLION, Neb. - Ryan Tucker struck out five over 5.0 innings in his best outing of the season as the Round Rock Express defeated the Omaha Storm Chasers 9-2 in Monday afternoon's Pacific Coast League series finale at Werner Park. The Express (60-39) salvaged a split in the four-game series, winning each of the final two games, and have won nine of 12 against the Storm Chasers (55-47) on the season.
Tucker (2-2) began the season in the bullpen and made 21 relief appearances before sliding into the rotation after the All-Star break. He earned his first win since April 25, holding Omaha to one run on six hits and a walk; he also hit one batter.
Meanwhile, the Express bats steadily pounded Omaha pitching to the tune of 17 hits. Round Rock scored a couple of runs on three hits and a costly Omaha error in the second inning and never relinquished that lead. Brad Nelson, who was 3-for-4 on the day, delivered a one-out RBI single in the third that proved to be the game-deciding hit.
Matt Kata and Joey Butler had consecutive RBI singles in the fifth. Omaha got on the board in the bottom of the inning on Lorenzo Cain's two-out RBI single, but the Express escaped further damage with an inning-ending double play. Nelson and Taylor Teagarden blasted solo homers in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, around a solo spot from the Storm Chasers in the bottom of the seventh. The Express capped the scoring in the ninth with Kata's RBI double and another Butler RBI single.
Round Rock handed Omaha starter Vin Mazzaro (5-1) his first loss of the season. He was touched for five runs - three earned - on 11 hits and a walk over 5.0 innings with three strikeouts.
Michael Kirkman struggled with control - five walks - but allowed only one run on two hits with three strikeouts over 2.0 innings of relief. Merkin Valdez, signed by the Rangers late last week, worked around a two-out single for a scoreless inning in his first Express outing. Darren O'Day pitched a scoreless ninth.
Kata was 3-for-5 with two RBI. Butler, Teagarden, Esteban German and Guilder Rodriguez all had two-hit outings.
Cain and Johnny Giavotella produced the lone multiple-hit games for Omaha, both going 2-for-4.
Round Rock returns to The Dell Diamond for a four-game series against the Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals). The series begins Tuesday with a 7:05 p.m. CDT first pitch. Southpaw Martin Perez (1-1, 4.32 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Express, while the Redbirds counter with right-hander Brian Broderick (3-3, 5.89 ERA).
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Pacific Coast League Stories from July 25, 2011
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