Zephyrs 6, Redbirds 2

Former major-leaguer Brad Penny shut out Memphis for five innings in his Triple-A debut, and New Orleans slugged three home runs for a 6-2 win over the Redbirds on Sunday at Zephyr Field.

The victory, the fourth in five games for the Zephyrs (49-48), gave them the series, two games to one, and left them in second place in the American Southern Division heading into the All-Star break.

Penny allowed three hits — singles in the second, fourth and fifth innings. He struck out six and walked one.

“I got away with a few mistakes, a change-up up to a right-handed hitter, a curve ball up,” said Penny. “For the most part, I was down in the zone making pitches when I needed to, especially behind in the count. It felt good, something positive to build off of.”

The Z’s took a 2-0 lead on homers by Kyle Skipworth (10th) in the fifth and Mark Canha off the left-field foul pole in the sixth, both two-out shots.

The game’s biggest hit, however, came in the seventh after Memphis (46-49) had tied the score in the top of the inning. Jake Marisnick fought a pitch off his fists from Angel Castro (7-6), hitting the ball halfway down the right-field line for a two-run double.

Right-fielder Afredo Silverio, who joined the Z’s on July 5, hit his first homer in Triple-A.

Prospect

At age 36 and having won a World Series with the Florida Marlins in 2003, Penny hardly can be called a prospect. However, after last pitching in 2012, he’s making that climb back.

“I was hurting, but it wasn’t an injury — my shoulder, my back, everything,” said Penny,who spent 13 years in the big leagues with five teams. “I had a plan to take a year off and see how my body felt.”

He tried out with the Kansas City Royals in spring training but was rusty and was released. He chose the Marlins over the Chicago White Sox and went to Single-A Jupiter for extended spring training. After two outings, he was promoted to the Zephyrs.

“I can’t sleep if I don’t pitch good,” Penny said. “So, if (the Marlins) were to call call me, ‘Hey, come on up,’ I’ll tell them if I’m not ready.”

Extra bases

Zephyrs right-hander Elih Villanueva was chosen the Pacific Coast League’s starting pitcher for Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game against the International League in Durham, N.C. The league’s teams go on a three-day hiatus. The Zephyrs return to play Thursday at the Omaha Storm Chasers, the start of an eight-game road trip that also includes the Iowa Cubs. … The Miami Marlins’ director of scouting, Brian Chattin, was on hand during the series vs. Memphis to observe the Zephyrs. Forty roster moves were made in June regarding the Zephyrs and 12 have been made in July. … In a corresponding move to Penny’s coming to the Zephyrs, reliever Collin Cargill was sent to Double-A Jacksonville.

Darrell Williams