ZEPHYRS 8, EXPRESS 7
Kyle Jensen homered to right field in the bottom of the 11th inning, giving New Orleans the victory in a back-and-forth game Tuesday at Zephyr Field.
The victory ended a four-game losing streak and tied the four-game series at one game each. The Zephyrs (44-41) are a half game behind first-place Nashville and a full game ahead of third-place Round Rock (42-41) in the American Southern Division standings.
New Orleans had scored five runs on six hits in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 7-4 lead. All of the runs were scored with two outs.
However, Kensuke Tanaka hit a one-out, three-run homer in the top of the ninth that tied the score against closer Chaz Roe.
Round Rock led 4-2 after scoring three runs in the seventh. With one out, former Zephyr Bryan Petersen singled and Ryan Rua doubled, tying the score. Former Zephyr Jake Smolinski then doubled off the left-field wall, plating Rua. Smolinski scored on Kenuke Tanaka’s groundout.
Round Rock starter Phil Irwin didn’t allow a hit through the first five innings.
WHAT: New Orleans Zephyrs vs. Round Rock Express
WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie
WHEN: 7 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHERS: Zephyrs RH Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. Express RH Miles Mikolas (5-1, 3.22)
BROADCASTS: WMTI 106.1 FM, MiLB.tv
When the Express put on a bit of a power surge in Monday night’s game, infielder Ryan Rua wasn’t a part of it.
In the future, he will be included more likely than not. While with the Texas Rangers’ Double-A affiliate Frisco last season, Rua hit 32 home runs, the fifth-most in minor league baseball. He had 10 this season before being called up on June 25.
He made his presence felt quickly and in a big way. On Friday, two days after the call-up, he blasted a three-run shot that keyed the Express’ big come-from-behind victory at Memphis in a key series. He went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and a run in an 8-7 win, the team’s fifth in a row.
“(The Rangers) would like to see him play a little third, second, first and in the outfield,” Manager Steve Buechele said. “He’s got tremendous in his bat. He’s making some adjustments, not striking out as much. He’s hitting the ball all over the place.”
Rua won the home-run derby on Tuesday during the Texas League All-Star game. With injuries to Round Rock infielders Alex Bucholz and Brent Lillibridge, Rua came up the next day.
First baseman Justin Bour was called up Tuesday by the Marlins, the third time this season, all since June 4, that he has gone to play for Miami. He had been sent back on June 28. …. Monday’s opener was the longest Zephyrs nine-inning game this season, lasting 3 hours, 57 minutes. That topped the previous high of 3:45 on May 4 at Round Rock. The longest game the Z’s have played in came on July 9 at El Paso – 4:06 – but that one went 11 innings. … Elih Villanueva has been a model of consistency and efficiency this season, but he struggled in Monday night’s game. Villanueva allowed three earned runs on six hits in three innings, walking three and striking out none. He was lifted after throwing 83 pitches. … Round Rock starter Luke Jackson, the Rangers’ top pitching prospect, also was relieved after three innings in his Triple-A debut, he too making a lot of pitches (76, 46 for strikes). “He was probably a little over-amped, his first start up here,” Manager Steve Buechele said. “He just wasn’t efficient (Monday night). He’ll be good his next time out. He’s got great stuff, he’s highly thought of by the organization, by all of us. We were all looking forward to watching him pitch tonight, and it was one of those nights.” Buechele said it was an indication Jackson needs to bide his time with Round Rock. “He has all the pitches. The big club’s got so many injuries right now, but I’m not sure they’re ready to rush any of the young kids. I think they want to see him have success against Triple-A hitters.”