Oklahoma City got two big hits against reliever Pat Urckfitz to break open a scoreless game and take a 3-0 lead in the series Thursday at Zephyr Field.
Right fielder Scott Schebler greeted Urckfitz in the sixth inning with a two-out triple down the right field line, scoring Andy Wilkins. In the seventh, center fielder Darnell Sweeney hit a two-out solo home run to left field.
New Orleans (51-68) scored in the bottom of the seventh when Dodgers releiver Chin-Hui Tsao walked Kila Ka’iahue with the bases loaded and two out, scoring Brandon Bantz. However, the next batter, Vinny Rottino, struck out. The Zephyrs had the bases loaded and one out in the inning.
Oklahoma City starter Zach Lee (9-4), a former LSU quarterback, allowed four hits in 6.1 innings. Zephyrs starter Blake Logan shut out the Dodgers (71-47) on five hits for 5.2 innings.
The series finale is Friday. The Zephyrs (51-68) have lost five games in a row and nine of their past 11 at home. They are 1-7 in this homestand.
WHO: Oklahoma City at Zephyrs
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie
PROBABLE PITCHERS: Oklahoma City RHP Brandon Beachy (1-1, 3.50 ERA vs. Zephyrs TBD
RADIO: WMTI-FM, 106.1
Hard thrower arrives
When Erik Cordier came to the mound in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game, the Zephyrs were headed to yet another defeat.
However, Cordier was worth staying around to watch. During the inning, the scoreboard radar flashed 98 mph. Manager Andy Haines said the one in the dugout hit 100.
Cordier, who was with the Sacramento Rivercats, is with the Zephyrs because he had a clause in his contract with the pitching-rich San Francisco Giants that allowed him to opt out on Aug. 1 if an opportunity wasn’t forthcoming. Opportunity, of course, is why he’s in the Marlins’ organization.
“There was a lot of up and down between (the Zephyrs) and the Marlins just because of the trade deadline happening the way it did,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 12-plus seasons. I’m a career minor-league, pretty much.
“With the Giants and their current situation, that didn’t seem to be the case this season, so I decided to take a shot, and the Marlins seemed to be a great place to do that.”
Cordier was with the Giants from the September call-up through the playoffs and World Series but was inactive, essentially insurance in case a pitcher got hurt.
“It was an awesome experience,” he said. “I just wanted the chance to break in with a team under the 25-man roster because I feel like I should be there, not because rosters are expanded (in September).”
The Zephyrs had batting practice on the field Thursday at 4:30 p.m., but Haines said he was going to have the team simply hit in the cage at 6 p.m. Friday, just before game time. “We’re just trying to be smart about the heat,” he said. “We’ll have them arrive at 3:30 instead of 1:30. We still take infield and outfield practice, too, but you want to keep them fresh for the games. It’s August now. You want them to keep working and you don’t want to totally shut it down, but they’ve been going pretty hard since mid-February.” … Haines moved first-baseman Kila Ka’aihue up to second in the batting order for Thursday’s game. Ka-aihue is a slow runner and had not gotten a hit in 13 of 15 games heading into the game. Ka’aihue, batting .188 this season, is 2-for-46 since July 25. Haines said before the game that Ka’aihue gets walks (24 this season), and he wants as many runners on base for when cleanup hitter Marcell Ozuna comes to the plate. … The Zephyrs led the PCL in earned-run average when before their starting rotation was called up to Miami in the past month. However, with a rotation of newcomers, their ERA in August is 5.30, third-worst in the league. … Chris Hatcher, who was the PCL’s All-Star closer in 2013 with the Zephyrs and spent most of last season with the Marlins, was called up from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles on Thursday. Hatcher had been on the 60-day disabled list with a strained oblique and has been with OKC since Aug. 3.