METAIRIE — First baseman Jason Rogers hit two two-out home runs against New Orleans Zephyrs starter Jose Urena, who absorbed his first loss of the season as Colorado Springs won the series opener 5-2 Thursday night at Zephyr Field.
The loss was the fifth in six games for New Orleans (42-49). Colorado Springs (35-54) had lost seven of its past nine.
Rogers hit a solo shot to left field in the first inning and hit a two-out homer in the fifth that made it 4-0 against Urena (6-1), who entered the game with a 1.72 earned-run average in nine games.
“I’d say (Urena) just looked human,” Manager Andy Haines said. “As good as he is, he didn’t have his command.”
It was his second consecutive game getting roughed up. He allowed five runs in six innings at Round Rock on July 9 but got the victory, 9-6.
Marcell Ozuna, sent down by the Miami Marlins on July 8 after batting .249 with four homers and 26 RBIs this season, hit his second home run with the Zephyrs in the sixth, cutting the lead to 4-2.
That chased starter Tyler Thornburg (2-5), who had shut the Z’s out on four hits in 5 1/3 innings before Ozuna’s blow with Austin Nola on base.
Tiger in town
Former LSU pitcher Austin Ross has been with the Sky Sox since July 3 when he was called up from the Biloxi Shuckers. Ross, a reliever, is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and has appeared in five games spanning six innings.
Ross, 26, played on LSU’s 2009 NCAA championship team with Zephyrs shortstop Austin Nola and was selected in the eighth round of the 2010 draft by the Brewers, which became Colorado Springs’ parent team this season.
He went 7-for-17 (.412) during the five-game series at Round Rock before the Triple-A All-Star break.
Nola had three multihit games in the series. After sitting out the series opener, he went 2-for-5 in the second game, 3-for-4 in the third and 2-of-5 in the series finale.
Nola, who hit 211 at Double-A Jacksonville before being promoted to the Zephyrs on June 28, was batting .328 (19-for-58) in Triple-A heading into Thursday’s game.
The Z’s Andy Haines, who managed Nola in Single-A, said he wasn’t concerned about his hitting when he was called up to New Orleans.
“He can hit,” Haines said. “Not only that, he does a lot of little things like hitting behind the runner, moving the runner up. He’s about team.”
Zephyrs pitchers Andre Rienzo and Nick Wittgren each threw a scoreless inning for the Pacific Coast League in Wednesday night’s Triple-A All-Star Game in Omaha, Nebraska. Rienzo pitched the third and Wittgren the eighth. The Internationals got a 4-3 win. … Outfielder Jordany Valdespin, who was optioned to the Z’s by the Marlins and was to join the team Thursday, missed the game due to a family illness. … Brady Shoemaker and Juan Diaz hit back-to-back singles leading off the bottom of the fifth inning Thursday. That had lifted Shoemaker’s average to .435 (10-for-23) since coming back from a broken thumb that had him on the disabled list for six weeks. Sunday’s performance upped Diaz average to .288.