Thursday: Zephyrs 4, Redbirds 1 _lowres


Third baseman Joey Gallo doubled in a run during a two-run fourth inning and second baseman Tyler Pastornicky led off the fifth with a home run in the series opener Wednesday at Zephyr Field.

The loss was the seventh in eight games for New Orleans (50-62) after streaks of seven wins and seven losses. Round Rock (62-48), which leads the American Southern Division, had lost against Memphis in its previous two games.

Round Rock starter Stolmy Pimentel (4-3) allowed one run on consecutive doubles by Austin Wates and Reid Brignac in the fifth inning.

However, shortstop Hanser Alberto came up with two big defensive plays that thwarted the Zs. With Kila Ka-aihue on second base in the first inning, Alberto made a diving catch of a hard grounder by Marcell Ozuna that started a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. Then, with the bases loaded and two out in the fifth, Ozuna grounded hard up the middle. Alberto came over to make the catch, then threw out Ozuna in a close play at first.

Nola ailing

While the Zephyrs were getting ready for Wednesday night’s game, shortstop Austin Nola, a former LSU standout, was not in the lockerroom. Teammates and a team assistant said Nola had a doctor’s appointment.

Nola suffered a hand injury during a game Sunday at Oklahoma City. He didn’t come out of the game but didn’t play Monday or Tuesday.

“He thought he hurt it diving for the ball,” manager Andy Haines said, “but he said he really doesn’t know when it happened.”

Haines said Nola’s hand was swollen Monday but it had subsided.

Nola is the third Zephyr in three weeks to have a hand injury. Catcher/first baseman Vinny Rottino missed games July 22-23, after a pitch in the dirt struck his right hand. Outfielder Isaac Galloway was hit by a pitch on his left hand on July 27 at Nashville and missed the next two games.

In 33 games with New Orleans, Nola has batted .310.

Valdespin jettisoned

When outfielder/Jordany Valdespin was given his outright release on Tuesday, it was because of a recent incident that was his last straw, Marty Scott, the Miami Marlins vice president of player development, said Wednesday.

“It wasn’t just one thing,” Scott said. “Jordany was told when we signed him (for 2014) that he had to toe the line. He is very talented, but he has to work harder as a player, as a teammate.”

A Major League Baseball source said Valdespin, who was let go by the New York Mets in 2013 after a series of incidents, got into a lockerroom skirmish with Zephyrs outfielder Austin Wates. However, Marlins officials had been displeased with Valdespin concerning other things — not running out ground balls hard, for instance. “It was something different every other day,” the source said.

Valdespin batted .270 with the Z’s last season before playing 52 games with Miami (.214). He was batting .293 this season before being release.

Extra bases

The Marlins called up left-hander Chris Narveson (0-3, 3.19), who will join his third Major League team. Miami sent infielder Donovoan Solano back down to New Orleans. He hit .263 with the Z’s between June 30 and July 12 before being called back up to the Marlins. … Shortstop J.R. Riddle, 23, who came up from Jacksonville when Valdespin was release and filled in for Nola, played in one game – Tuesday at OKC – and went 2-for-3 with two walks. “He looks like a little kid, but he bats left-handed and he can play,” Haines said. “He’s a good prospect.”

Darrell Williams