Right fielder Kyle Jensen singled in two runs in the first inning and touched off a four-run fourth with a solo home run, propelling New Orleans to a 6-1 win in the series opener against division-leader Memphis on Thursday night at Zephyr Field.
The Zephyrs (68-72), who had lost their past two games, ended a four-game winning streak by the Redbirds (77-62), who entered the game with a three-game lead over second-place Nashville. New Orleans also kept alive its feint hopes of finishing the season Monday with a .500 record.
Catcher Rob Brantly hit a one-out homer with Josh Rodriguez on in the fourth, and Juan Diaz hit one in the sixth, all against Memphis starter Jonathan Cornelius (0-2). Pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (3-3) allowed one run on four hits in six innings.
The three RBIs gave Jensen 91, which leads the Pacific Coast League.
WHAT: New Orleans Zephyrs vs. Memphis Redbirds.
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie,
PROBABLE PITCHERS: Zephyrs LH Brian Flynn (8-9, 4.05 ERA) vs. Redbirds LH Marco Gonzales (4-1, 3.35).
BROADCASTS: WMTI-FM, 106.1 FM; MiLB.tv.
Relief pitcher Joey O’Gara rejoined the Zephyrs on Thursday after a five-game rehab assignment with the Rookie League Gulf Coast Marlins in Jupiter, Fla.
O’Gara, 26, had been on the disabled list since June 24 and had made one appearance with New Orleans this season, pitching two innings at Albuquerque on June 16.
O’Gara, 6-foot-7, has been dealing with the effects of thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, which he had in 2012. When he went to the GCL Marlins on Aug. 15, he said he really wanted to return to the Zephyrs and pitch again, even with a week remaining in the season, just to put a positive cap on this season.
In his five rehab games in Jupiter, he allowed three runs in 5.1 innings.
Second baseman Derek Dietrich singled in the first inning of Thursday’s opener against Memphis, giving him a hit in each of his four games since coming to the Zephyrs on Monday from the Miami Marlins. He has a hit in 14 of his 16 games with New Orleans this season, this being his second stint. Coming into Thursday, he had hit seven home runs in 15 games with the Z’s. … The Redbirds were 3-4 in August when the Zephyrs came to Memphis on Aug. 7. The Redbirds won four of five against New Orleans, starting a stretch in which they went 16-3, including a nine-game winning streak. They had won six of seven games heading into Thursday night’s final series opener. Since July 1, the Redbirds have gone 38-17, the best record in the Pacific Coast League during that stretch. … When Danny Black was assigned from the Zephyrs to the Jacksonville Suns this week. On Sunday, Black had hit a two-run triple in the eighth inning, then later stole home in the inning as part of a double steal. That keyed the Z’s 8-6 win at Salt Lake. That was only his second hit in 42 at-bats since July 28. After his performance Sunday, he was sent to Jacksonville. … The Redbirds came to town having gone 16-6 in their past 22 road games.