Isaac Galloway hit a pinch-hit single up the middle against Colorado Spring’s drawn-in infield, scoring Jordany Valdespin from third base in the bottom of the 10th inning, and New Orleans won its seventh consecutive game Thursday at Zephyr Field.
Playing in the resumption of Wednesday’s game suspended by rain, the Zephyrs (49-55) gained the franchise’s longest winning streak since July 26-Aug. 1, 2012.
Trailing 2-1 entering the inning, Marcell Ozuna led off by reaching on an error on a grounder to shortstop Luis Sardinas. Jordany Valdespin then hit a one-out double to the right field corner. Reliever Jay Chapman (2-2) walked former LSU standout Austin Nola intentionally to load the bases and get to catcher Jhonatan Solana (.192 batting average) and set up double-play possibilities at all bases.
However, Solano was hit by a pitch, scoring Ozuna and Galloway followed with his game-winning hit.
New Orleans took a 2-0 lead in the series heading into Thursday’s regularly scheduled game that followed.
Marlins recall Urena
The Miami Marlins recalled hard-throwing right-hander Jose Urena on Thursday evening, a day after starter Mat Latos was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Urena will start Saturday against San Diego at Marlins Park.
In the locker room Thursday, Urena didn’t seem overly thrilled, keeping it in perspective because this is his third time going up.
“I don’t know what they (are planning) to do,” Urena said. “But yes, I’m glad to be going back up there.”
Urena (6-1, 2.66) was 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA until giving up three runs in five innings to Colorado Springs on July 16.
Including the loss to the Sky Sox, he gave up 10 earned runs in 15 innings spanning three games.
He had gone up on April 15 but came back a week later. His next callup came May 26, and he stayed until July 3. With Miami, he was 1-4 with a 4.04 ERA in nine games, seven of them starts.
But he gave up eight earned runs in his first three appearances before settling down.
He seemed to come back to the Z’s as a better pitcher. He said the major leagues forced him to lift his focus to a higher level.
“You can’t have your mind bad, because the hitters will take advantage of you,” he said. “You get a feeling for the hitters, and you have to do your thing.
“I want to get my mind right and do the things I was doing there. I was working with the staff.”
Sharpening a tool
When Austin Wates singled in Tuesday’s series opener vs. the Sky Sox, it made him 4-for-13 (.308) as a pinch-hitter. Although that is a small sample size, Wates said he is proud of the average.
“It’s a new role for me, and I’ve tried to hit the ground running,” said Wates, who had been mired in a reserve role this season. “I know that I’m jumping in usually in an important spot in the games, so I try to have as good an at-bat as I can, whether it’s bunting and moving a guy over or getting on base. I know that’s the only at-bat I’m going to have that day.”
With his speed in the outfield, Wates already can contribute as a late-game defensive replacement. So, it’s not lost on him that continuing to do well as a pinch-hitter, which also often comes late in games, has its possibilities.
“I know that’s how a lot of guys break into the big-league scene is being that fourth or fifth outfielder, being that pinch-hitter guy,” Wates said. “I know I can play in the big leagues if I ever have to do that.”