Right-hander Taijuan Walker held New Orleans to one run on three hits through six innings Friday night at Zephyr Field, and Tacoma won the series three games to one.
The loss was the sixth in seven games for the Zephyrs (61-66), who continue to languish in the American Southern Division cellar.
Walker (6-3), who was born in Shreveport but grew up in Yucaipa, Califronia, struck out nine and walked three. In the first inning, he gave up two hits and a run, as Brian Bogusevic scored on Justin Bour’s single off Walker’s shoulder. Walker shut out the Z’s the rest of the way, the only hit Mark Canha’s infield single with two out in the sixth.
The Rainiers (66-61), in third place in the Pacific Northern, took a 2-0 lead in the first on Ty Kelly’s bases-loaded double against Elih Villanueva (10-9). Xavier Avery homered into the pool in right in the second inning for a 3-1 lead.
New Orleans trailed 6-1 in the ninth when Kyle Skipworth hit a two-run triple.
WHAT: New Orleans Zephyrs vs. Reno Aces
WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie
WHEN: 6 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHERS: TBA vs. Aces RH Mike Bolsinger (7-3, 3.83)
BROADCASTS: WMTI 106.1 FM, MiLB.tv
Aces third baseman Andy Marte entered Friday’s games tied for the Pacific Coast League lead in hitting with a .334 average.
However, at age 30, Marte may no longer be a major league prospect, at least with the parent Arizona Diamondbacks.
Marte got five chances with the Cleveland Indians totaling 297 games between 2005 and 2010 after a brief 24-game stint with the Atlanta Braves in 2005. Each time, he failed to impress with his bat.
However, after four years of not playing in the big leagues, he received a big opportunity for which, this time, he seemed prepared. The Diamondbacks called him up July 31 after third baseman Martin Prado and the $25 million left on his contract were traded to the New York Yankees.
The next day, in Marte’s first game with Arizona, Marte hit a pinch-hit home run against Pittsburgh. However, in six games with the D’backs, he batted 3-for-16 (.188), again failing on the big stage.
Arizona sent him back down on Aug. 7 and called up third baseman Jeff Lamb, who had torn up the Southern League with Double-A Mobile (.327, 99 games). Lamb had spent just five games with Reno and wasn’t expected to go to Arizona until the September call-ups, when rosters are expanded.
At first, D’backs manager Kirk Gibson said officials were interested in taking a longer look at Lamb. Now, after getting a glimpse of Lamb, the No. 9 prospect in their system, the Diamondbacks are impressed.
“He is going to be our third baseman,” Gibson said. “He has a great bat, and we are in need of offense.”
Elih Villanueva’s start Friday night was the 77th in his career with the Zephyrs, surpassing Brian Powell for the franchise record. However, by losing Friday’s game, he tied Steve Sparks for the franchise mark for losses, with 30. He also entered the game with 28 career wins, one behind Powell for most in franchise history. … Zephyr Field was still buzzing Friday concerning Thursday’s bizare game. First, it went 12 innings and lasted 4 hours, 48 minutes. It had a gaffe in the seventh inning in which three Zephyrs base-runners were within 10 feet of second base after Justin Bour’s bases-loaded fly ball to the right-field wall was caught then dropped. Only one run scored. Jesus Montero injured his oblique swinging at a pitch and had to leave the game. Then, there was Tacoma relief pitcher Todd Coffee, 33, being tossed from the game after the bottom of the ninth for vehemently protesting a balk, then throwing folding chairs onto the field. There was a runner’s interference by Mark Cahna at second base in the bottom of the seventh on a double-play grounder that wiped out another potentially big inning. … The Z’s seven-game winning streak in extra-inning games. It was Tacoma’s 16th extra-inning game, tops in the Pacific Coast League.