The Oklahoma City RedHawks never could catch up with the Omaha Storm Chasers on Thursday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Omaha (43-36) speedy center fielder Paulo Orlando opened the second with an inside-the-park home run that sparked a 7-2 victory to send the RedHawks to a season-high five-game losing streak in front of 6,054 fans.
Oklahoma City (42-39) is now two games behind the Storm Chasers in the American Northern Division.
Orlando, who also scored another run in the seventh inning, also stole two bases. He was just one of many thorns for the RedHawks, too.
Catcher Francisco Pena finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 4 for 5 with a two-run homer and three RBIs. He had a chance for the triple with two outs in the ninth, but he grounded out to second base.
The RedHawks cut their deficit to 2-1 in the second when Marc Krauss scored on a wild pitch. Gregorio Petit also drove in a run with a single in the fifth.
MORTENSEN STIFLES REDHAWKS
Omaha pitcher Clayton Mortensen lowered his ERA to 0.99 after allowing two earned runs in 51/3 innings.
He improved to 3-0, but it was also the Storm Chasers’ bullpen that proved stifling, as Tim Collins and Chris Dwyer threw 32/3 shutout innings.
Oklahoma City starter Mike Foltynewicz (6-5) allowed four earned runs over five innings, striking out six and walking one.
DEFRANCESCO MISSES GAME
RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco did not arrive at the ballpark until late in the game due to inclement weather delaying his flight from Houston.
DeFrancesco, who spent six weeks undergoing treatment for an unnamed cancer to start the season, was in Houston Wednesday and Thursday undergoing a routine visit with doctors. He said tests came back OK.
His original flight was delayed, and he said he caught around the final four innings of the game. Catching coach Jeff Murphy served as manager during the game.
REDHAWKS HOSTING BLOOD DRIVE
The RedHawks and Oklahoma Blood Institute are hosting the annual All-American Blood Drive on Saturday at The Brick, and each donor will receive two tickets to the RedHawks game on Friday, July 4.
To donate, you must be 16 or older. The drive begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs until 1:30 p.m.
The drive aims to boost the blood supply in time for Independence Day weekend.
Free parking will be available in the RedHawks’ Red Lot, which is located east of the ballpark at the corner of East Reno Avenue and Joe Carter Avenue. A golf cart will shuttle donors to the site and hot dogs will be provided.
For more information, visit www.okcredhawks.com.
The RedHawks continue their four-game homestand against Omaha on Friday against left-hander Ryan Verdugo (4-2).
Oklahoma City counters with its own left-hander, Brett Oberholtzer (1-2), who is coming off a solid start against Tacoma in which he allowed three runs over seven innings during OKC’s 4-3 loss in 11 innings.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and fireworks will follow the game.