Thursday: Zephyrs 4, Redbirds 1 _lowres



Right-hander Dylan Axelrod checked Colorado Springs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings, and three relievers helped keep the shutout in the series opener Tuesday at Zephyr Field.

Axelrod (1-1) bounced back from a performance Thursday at Oklahoma City in which he allowed seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. Colorado Springs (12-18) lost for the third time in four games.

“I was able to throw my changeup for strikes against right-handers and lefties (Tuesday night),” Axelrod said. “I just didn’t have my command in the previous game. I changed the grip on my curveball, which helped.”

The Zephyrs (15-16) got just six hits. However, they took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning after shortstop Robert Andino lead off with a triple to center field off starter Hiram Burgos (1-3) and first baseman Xavier Scruggs followed with a double to right.

The Z’s ended a two-game losing streak. New Orleans had lost five of their final six games on the road.


Reliever Nick Wittgren was called back up to the parent Miami Marlins.

Wittgren, a Pacific Coast League All-Star last season, had not allowed a run in his last 7.0 innings with the Zephyrs.

This is his second time called up. He went to Miami on April 19, and in his first time in the Major Leagues allowed one run in two innings spread over two appearances.

He was called up this time to replace Nefi Ogando, who had been called up from the Z’s on May 2 but was injured in a collision covering first base on Sunday.

No corresponding move was made yet to replace Wittgren, temporarily leaving the roster at 24.

In the past week, two Zephyrs pitchers were placed on the disabled list. Greg Nappo went on the DL on Friday, and Matt Tomshaw was sent to the Z’s from Class A Jupiter. Eric Jokish was placed on the list Sunday, and Chris Reed was called up from Jacksonville. Reed is a former first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He will be the starter in Thursday’s game.


Kenny Wilson walked leading off the bottom of the first inning. When a pickoff attempt went into foul territory, Wilson jetted all the way to third base. However, he over-slid the bag and was tagged out. Wilson had ended a 0-for-18 hitting steak on Saturday with a two-out single in the seventh inning that gave New Orleans the lead in a 3-2 win at Round Rock. However, he went 0-for-8 in the next two games against the Express. … Colorado Springs pitcher Austin Ross is from Shreveport, and infielder Garin Cecchini is from Lake Charles. Cecchini was drafted out of Barbe High School in the fourth round in 2010 by the Boston Red Sox. He was traded last offseason to Milwaukee, the Sky Sox’s parent team, when Boston signed third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval is out for the season. … A contigent of family and friends from Cedar Park, Texas, were in attendance to see Sky Sox center fielder Michael Reed. However, Reed was taken out of the game in the fourth inning when he crashed into the wall trying to catch a ball hit by Robert Andino that went for a triple. … The Z’s came into the opener last in the 16-team PCL in hitting at .223 after going .167 in their eight-game road trip to Oklahoma City and Round Rock. However, New Orleans also entered at No. 1 in fielding (.990). Colorado Springs is ninth in hitting (.271) but last in pitching (5.72 ERA).

Darrell Williams