Fresno’s Tyler White and Al Reed each hit three-run home runs, and Brock Dykxhoorn held New Orleans to two hits in 62⁄3 innings for a 9-2 win Wednesday.
The Baby Cakes (30-35) had won their past two games at Salt Lake, which leads the Pacific Southern Division. Wednesday’s loss was New Orleans’ fifth consecutive to open a series. They lost two of the past four series, won one and tied one.
White staked Fresno (39-26), which leads the Pacific Northern, to a 3-0 lead after leadoff hitter Drew Ferguson reached on an error and Kyle Tucker singled against starter Pablo Lopez (1-1).
Reed’s blast came during a six-run sixth inning against reliever Severino Gonzalez.
Kinley making his pitch
New Orleans Baby Cakes relievers this season have 12 blown saves, which is last in the Pacific Coast League.
Had half of those been converted, the Baby Cakes would be battling Memphis for first place in the American Southern Division.
Tyler Kinley has shown he can help. The Baby Cakes headed into Wednesday's series opener against Fresno having won their past two games. Kinley got saves in both games at Salt Lake, which is in first place in the Pacific Southern.
“I feel great, but I try not to get too high,” said Kinley, who came to the Cakes on May 8 after being claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.
Kinley, 27, has four saves in four opportunities. He has appeared in 13 games spanning 13 2/3 innings, and has not allowed an earned run. He has held foes to five hits, including one extra-base hit (a double), in 45 at-bats, a .111 average.
“I've had a level of aggressiveness and trusting my stuff and just attacking the hitters and not giving them too much credit,” said Kinley, a 6-foot-4 right-hander. “I've attacked with my strengths against theirs and really gone after them.”
Kinley throws a fastball in the high 90s, but he hasn't always been consistent. However, he says, he has picked up “bits and pieces” of information along the way that has helped his growth. One such tip came last fall away from the ballpark.
“I was watching the Dodgers and Astros, just on TV, how their pitches exposed some weaknesses in hitters in the playoffs,” he said. “I saw how successful certain guys were. I compared myself to some of them and found a game plan to attack.”
Cakes pitching coach Jeremy Powell, who coached Kinley in rookie ball at Jupiter, said Kinley has been outstanding, but closer is not necessarily best for his development.
“When he goes back to the majors, he's not going to be a team's closer,” he said. “He's doing really well on the back end, but we'd like to get him more innings so he can be effective in different roles.”
Fresno is affiliated with the Houston Astros. It marks the Cakes' 11th series against an American League team. The Cakes came in with a 22-16 record when using a designated hitter, including 11-6 at home. … Fresno's .984 fielding percentage leads the PCL, and New Orleans is tied for second (.983).