Shortstop Ronny Torreyes’ one-out single in the 10th inning scored O’Koyea Dickson, and Andy Wilkins singled in Torreys one out later, giving Oklahoma City a sweep of the four-game series Friday night at Zephyr Field.
The loss was the sixth in a row and eighth in nine games for New Orleans (51-69), all coming in their nine-game homestand. The Dodgers (72-47), who have the Pacific Coast League’s best record, won their fifth consecutive game.
The Zephyrs had tied the score 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth on Brady Shoemaker’s one-out single that brought in Reid Brignac, who led off with a double. OKC took a 4-3 lead in the top of the inning when Wilkins singled in Dickson and Torreyes on the 14th pitch against reliever Erik Cordier.
Shoemaker homered against OKC starter Brandon Beachey in the fourth after Vinny Rottino’s leadoff walk and Marcell Ozuna followed with a single, giving New Orleans a 3-2 lead until Wilkins’ hit. The homer was the first by a Zephyr since Sunday and the fourth in August. New Orleans is last in the league in home runs (59) and had hit just two in the previous 144 innings.
Zephyrs starter Ivan Pineyro allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings. He retired the last 10 batters he faced.
The Zephyrs go against a first-place team for the fourth straight series beginning Saturday at Fresno, California.
Unlike Oklahoma City (two series) and Round Rock, the two first-place teams the Zephyrs played heading into the Fresno series, this is New Orleans’ first time playing this season against the Grizzlies (70-48).
However, Zephyrs manager Andy Haines is at least a little familiar with the Grizzlies.
“I managed five of them in the Arizona Fall League,” he said, rattling off the names. “(Utility man) Joe Sclafani, (outfielder) Andrew Aplin, (catcher) Tyler Heineman, (pitcher) Mark Appel and (closer) Tyson Perez.
“Fresno is a reflection of their parent team (Houston Astros). They’re strong.”
Heading into Friday, the Grizzlies led the Pacific Coast League in RBIs with 647. They are sixth in the league in hitting (.276) and seventh in home runs. More important, they are the PCL’s hottest team, having won nine of their past 10 games.
Two at a time
The Dodgers have moved ahead of the Zephyrs in team batting average, with the Z’s falling to last place at .257 heading into Friday.
The Z’s are middle of the pack in walks, but they lead the league in hitting into double plays, with 111.
Aside from outfielders Isaac Galloway and Austin Wates, the Z’s clearly are not built for speed. However, Haines said there was more to it.
“Overall lack of team speed is one thing, and I think our approach in those situations (is another),” Haines said. “Just being conscious of double-play situations, the defense and the pitching, it’s a cat-and-mouse game.
“They want to keep the ball down and get a double play. Offensively, we have to do a better job of seeing the ball up and looking in the gap and just playing the cat-and-mouse and having a strategy.”
New Orleans hit into 10 double plays during its nine-game homestand. The Zephyrs hit into two during Wednesday 5-2 loss.
Despite their struggles in August (5.30 ERA), the Zephyrs still lead the PCL in earned-run average (3.55) this season. … Marcell Ozuna had doubles in back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday, giving him 12 in 32 games with New Orleans. He has 18 extra-base hits with the Z’s. Ozuna had 14 doubles and four homers in 79 games with the Marlins this season.