Left-hander Chris O'Grady allowed one run on two hits over six innings, and New Orleans backed him with a five-run fifth inning Wednesday in a 5-3 win over the Round Rock Express.
The Baby Cakes (23-41) tied the series after losing an opener Tuesday for the eighth time in the past nine. It ensures they will not be swept in 17 series this season. New Orleans also has not won a series.
“O'Grady was down in the zone against some aggressive guys and did a very nice job,” manager Arnie Beyeler said.
O'Grady (2-3) struck out seven and walked three. He gave up only a one-out homer in the third to catcher A.J. Jimenez, a .119 hitter who had just one hit in his previous 12 games, and an infield single leading off the fourth to designated hitter Travis Snider.
New Orleans sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth, getting six hits. First baseman Cal Towey had a one-out RBI single, and with two outs shortstop Peter Mooney had a run-scoring single, KC Serna a RBI double and DH Mike Aviles a two-run bloop single against Tyler Wagner (1-6). Wagner had shut out the Cakes for four innings on just 40 pitches.
Koehler seeks rebound
Miami Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler had three quality starts among his first five.
Then, his struggles began. In mid-May, an examination revealed bursitis in his right, pitching shoulder. He was placed on the disabled list.
“It was something that started small and that I thought I could just pitch through,” said Koehler. “We had a lot of guys (injured), and I just felt like it would be better to just go out there and pitch every five days. Unfortuntately, the results and quality of my pitching went downhill.”
Koehler, who was 1-2 with a 7.04 ERA, had a cortisone shot and began rehabbing the shoulder. He was activated from the disbled list and optioned to New Orleans on Tuesday.
He started and pitched 3.1 innings Tuesday, allowing one run on three hits with eight strikeouts and just one walk. After a leadoff home run by Round Rock's Drew Robinson, Koehler settled in. He was expected to go six innings or throw 90 pitches, but was taken out after 79.
Having been optioned, he must spend 10 days with the Cakes.
“Health-wise, I feel good,” he said. “After not pitching for a month, there's some things I need to get back in feel and getting some arm strength.”
Koehler was with New Orleans from 2011-13. He struggled his first season, then was dominant in 2012. The Marlins quickly brought him up in 2013.
“Going up from Double-A to Triple-A was the biggest jump of my career,” he said. “But I finished 2011 well, even though I struggled. And after that, the Marlins put me on their 40-man roster, so that told me they valued me, and it allowed me to go out there and realize that I was good enough and just get back to pitching.”
Jerrius 'Little JJ' Robertson will sign a one-day contract with the Baby Cakes during a press conference at noon Thursday. Robertson, a survivor of two liver transplants, will receive the 2017 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPY's in July. He has been increasing awareness for the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency to encourage people to become organ donors.