New Orleans scored four runs in the seventh inning, surging past Nashville 6-3 in the series opener Friday at Zephyr Field.
After Justin Bour singled, Mark Canha doubled and Kyle Jensen singled, tying the score at 3, the Z’s benefitted from a walk, a balk and a passed ball in the inning.
The victory was the second consecutive for the Zephyrs (22-26) and brought them to 3½ games behind first-place Nashville (26-23) in the American South Division.
WHAT: New Orleans Zephyrs vs. Nashville Sounds
WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie
WHEN: 6 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHERS: Zephyrs RH Alex Sanabia (1-1, 6.67 ERA) vs. Sounds LH Brad Mills (3-0, 2.05)
BROADCASTS: WMTI 106.1-FM, MiLB.tv
Manager Andy Haines was gushing about second baseman Jordany Valdespin after his 10th inning, two-run double gave the Zephyrs their 3-2 victory against Oklahoma City on Thursday night. It gave the Z’s a split of the four-game series against one of the best teams in the Pacific Coast League.
“What can you say about Valdespin?” Haines asked. “What a game. You can see his passion, the energy he’s playing with. We had the right guy up there at the end.”
Valdespin had impressed Haines an inning earlier after he tried to sacrifice bunt and reached base on an error. Mark Canha followed with a single, and Valdespin went to third.
“He made it look easy,” Haines said. “A lot of guys can’t go first to third on that play.”
A scout in the Marlins’ division said he’s hearing good things about Valdespin.
“We’re hearing that he’s been great in the clubhouse with his teammates, which had been an issue in the past,” the scout said.
The Marlins have several good young players, however, and have signed Rafael Furcal and Miguel Tejada to provide a verteran presence.
“My focus is here first, and if they think I can help the team in the Majors, I’ll get called up,” Valdespin said. “I want to play hard and put up the numbers. But now, I don’t think about the big leagues.”
Friday’s scheduled pitcher for Nashville, Sounds No. 1 prospect Jimmy Nelson, was called up to the Milwaukee Brewers before the game. He is to replace Yovani Gallardo, who has a sprained left ankle. Late Friday, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke confirmed Gallardo will miss his scheduled start Sunday, setting up Nelson for the start. … New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams threw out the first pitch, a strike to Haines. “My daughter plays softball, and so (Thursday) we were in the street humming it at each other,” Williams said. “I just figured if I didn’t try to throw it too hard, I could get it down there. I was just trying to get it to him without making a fool of myself.” … Zephyrs pitcher Andrew Heaney, the Marlins No. 1 prospect, was hit on the left shin by a one-out line shot by Oklahoma City’s Robbie Grossman in the fifth inning in Thursday’s game, said he was OK. “It wasn’t anything,” he said. He finished the inning but was replaced at the start of the sixth. Haines said it was due to the pitch count. Marlins ace Jose Fernandez had been hit on the leg by a liner that he said affected his pitching motion and led to Tommy John surgery. … New Orleans is 1-3 vs. the Sounds, having played one series in Nashville from April 29-May 1. … The Zephyrs struck out 10 times Thursday against Oklahoma City, the 15th time this season they’ve reached double figures. The Z’s struck out 39 times in the series. OKC pitchers have fanned New Orleans hitters 98 times in 12 games between the teams this season. They have been sat down 373 times this season, fifth in the league.