Jeremy Hazelbaker’s one-out triple off reliever Lay Batista in the eighth inning scored Jacob Wilson and touched off a four-run rally, as Memphis beat New Orleans for the third consecutive time Wednesday at Zephyr Field.
It marked the franchise-record 10th consecutive home loss for the Zephyrs (42-55) and their seventh loss in a row overall. New Orleans has lost 13 of its past 15 games since July 6.
The Zephyrs, who were tied for the Pacific Coast League lead in fielding, committed a season-high four errors, two in the eighth by Pat Urckfitz, who relieved Batista.
New Orleans tied the score at 5 on two-out run-scoring singles by Austin Nola and Isaac Galloway. Nola had a two-out, two-run opposite-field single to right field in the fifth that tied the score at 3.
Memphis (51-47) scored two runs in the sixth with the aid of Hazelbaker’s eight-foot hit and resulting throwing error by relief pitcher Chris Narveson in taking a 5-3 lead.
In the second inning, New Orleans took its first lead of the homestand, spanning 56 innings over seven games. Marcell Ozuna doubled leading off the inning and scored on Jordany Valdespin’s two-out single to center field.
Zephyrs catcher/first baseman Vinny Rottino suffered a bruised right hand in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game and did not play Wednesday.
Even if he’s out temporarily, it takes away one of the Zephyrs’ top bats from a lineup that has been anemic since the team returned from the All-Star break. Even Rottino has had his struggles in July, though. He batted a league-best .390 in June but his average after 18 July games is .183.
However, he is the team’s leader and called the team meeting on Monday. Rottino, third baseman Juan Diaz and Miami Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna, working on his hitting with the Z’s, each had a message for the team in the meeting.
Rottino, who teammates call “Cap” — short for captain — tried to make sure the Z’s kept their chins up during this 2-12 streak, he said.
“When we came back from the All-Star break, we didn’t come out with guns blazing, and it just kind of snowballed on us,” he said.
In their first series after the break, They were swept by Colorado Springs, which had the PCL’s second-worst record.
“That hurt our morale,” he said.
Reid Brignac’s one-out single in the third inning was his first hit since July 18 when he went 2-for-4 vs. Colorado Springs. He’d also gotten a hit in five at-bats the previous day. On Wednesday, Brignac walked leading off the bottom of the first. …. Memphis starter Zach Petrick was rolling along with a four-hitter and a 3-1 lead with two out in the fifth inning when he was taken out of the game needing just one out to be eligible to get the victory. However, he had reached 101 pitches. … The Marlins reportedly are talking to the Los Angeles Dodgers concerning trading Ozuna, who was batting .249 with Miami before coming to the Z’s and hitting .333, for Yasiel Puig.