New Orleans scored seven runs on 11 hits in the first four innings on Tuesday at Zephyr Field, winning the series three games to one.
Completing a franchise-high 13-game home stand, the Zephyrs (59-59) won their third game in a row. They are three games behind first-place behind Nashville (62-56) in the American Southern Division with a series beginning Thursday at division foe Memphis.
In their four-inning onslaught, the Z’s hit seven singles, Kyle Jensen doubled and hit a solo homer, Brian Bogusevic hit a three-run homer and Mark Canha tripled, all off starter Donovan Hand (1-7).
Starter Elih Villanueva (10-7) allowed four hits and struck out five in six innings. He allowed a run in the third on a one-out double by Logan Schafer.
When left-hander Brian Flynn was called up for his only appearance this season with the Miami Marlins on June 27, it was to aid an overworked pitching staff.
The Marlins had gotten worn down on the mound and were coming off a 14-inning, 5-3 loss to Philadelphia. Flynn was 7-5 with a 3.56 earned-run average at the time, but was mostly consistently good, with a 10-hit, eight-run outing in his second start skewering his numbers.
Flynn, 6 feet 7, 250 pounds, was called back up Monday, again to lend a fresh arm to a taxed staff, Marlins vice president of player development Marty Scott said. This time, however, things are different. In his past 10 games, he is 2-5, with only one sterling start — on June 21 vs. Sacramento in which he allowed one run on six hits in 5.2 innings. Since that start, he has lost three games and didn’t get a decision in two others.
“That’s new for me,” he said of his recent struggles. “I’ve usually finished strong in my seasons. Mostly, I’ve been a good second-half pitcher. That’s when my mechanics and everything start getting synched up. But I’m working hard everyday, trying to get the mechanics down.”
Flynn’s performances began tailing off around the time top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney and also Anthony DeSclafani were called up to the Marlins on June 12.
In Flynn’s next start, on June 16 at Albuquerque, he gave up 10 hits and eight runs — seven earned — in five innings. Of late, Flynn’s name had been in trade talks before Thursday’s deadline. On Wednesday against Iowa, he gave nine runs, although one was earned, but surrendered two home runs. He said none of that — others being called up or the trade rumors, have mattered.
“I have to think he was out of sorts seeing other pitchers go up,” Scott said. “This might give him a little shot of adrenaline, and maybe he can show he belongs.”
The Zephyrs have an off day/travel day Wednesday before beginning a key five-game division series at Memphis. … When Brad Penny took the mound for the second inning Monday, it marked the first time in 66 innings a Zephyrs hurler pitched with a lead. … When center fielder Austin Wates blooped a single to center fielder leading off the bottom of the first inning Monday, it pushed his hitting streak to a season-high eight games. Wates has gotten at least one hit in each of his four games since coming to the Zephyrs. He was replaced by Bogusevic in Tuesday’s lineup. … New Orleans has not lost a season series against Nashville since 2011, when it went 4-12 against the Sounds.