Thursday: Zephyrs 4, Redbirds 1 _lowres


Marlins tab Nicolino

Zephyrs left-hander Justin Nicolino (7-7, 3.52 ERA) was called up by the Miami Marlins on Tuesday, a move that was expected.

In a corresponding move, right-hander Blake Logan will rejoin the Zephyrs. Logan was designated for Single-A Batavia on Sunday to create a roster spot for Matt Tomshaw, who made his Triple-A debut at Zephyr Field.

Nicolino is the last of five pitchers called up who comprised the Zephyrs’ starting rotation on July 11. Since then, Triple-A All-Star Adam Conley, Andre Rienzo, Jose Urena, Kendry Flores and now Nicolino are on the staff in Miami. The Marlins have seen their staff decimated by injuries and two trades.

Nicolino went up for the second time. He was called up on June 19 and in his Major League debut as a starter at Cincinnati the next night, made history. He became the first Marlins starter in franchise history to pitch a shutout for seven innings, allowing just four hits.

In his next appearance, on June 26 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he gave up five runs on six hits in four innings. He was sent back to New Orleans on July 1.

Some turnaround

Zephyrs second baseman Reid Brignac batted .172 in July, the worst average in the Pacific Coast League for the month.

However, he has been some kind of hot in August. Brignac has gone 12-for-30 (.400) this month, including 11-for-23 (.478) in the just completed five-game series against the Round Rock Express. In Sunday’s final game, he went 3-for-5 with an RBI.

He is on a six-game hitting streak that began Aug. 2 at Oklahoma City. During the streak, he has gone 12-for-26 (.461), raising his batting average 25 percentage points to .245 in one week.

“I just want to finish strong in these remaining games and go into the offseason feeling positive about this experience,” said Brignac, who had battled injuries to his ribs and back much of the season.

Extra bases

When the Zs played five games at Oklahoma City (American Northern) on Aug. 1-4, it marked the start of 18 against teams in first place in their divisions. The Zephyrs followed against Round Rock (American Southern), play Oklahoma City on Tuesday through Friday, then play at Fresno (Pacific Northern) on Saturday through Aug. 18. Thus far, New Orleans is 2-8 in those games, having gone 1-4 both at OKC and against Round Rock at Zephyr Field. Oklahoma City also has taken its lumps. It lost the series finale vs. the Zs on Aug. 4, then dropped four in a row to lowly Colorado Springs before winning the last game of that series on Sunday. However, they enter Zephy Feld with the best record in the PCL (68-47) and best road record (36-25).

Darrell Williams