New Orleans scored three runs in the fifth, aided by a throwing error by Fresno catcher Tyler Heineman, and Justin Nicolino shut out the Grizzlies on three hits in six innings Saturday and the Zephyrs held on for a 5-1 win at Zephyr Field.
“That was the game right there,” Fresno manager Tony DeFrancesco said concerning the error. “(Mike Hauschild) is an All-Star pitcher, and he was throwing real well. They got a couple of cheap hits, and before you know it, a couple of runs scored. We didn’t play a good game.”
The Grizzlies (47-44) had three errors.
The win was the eighth in the past 11 games for the Zephyrs (45-46) and gave them a 2-1 lead in the series, with the final game Sunday.
With one out in the fifth, Zephyrs catcher Adrian Nieto hit an opposite-field single to left. Isaac Galloway scored from second, just beating the throw. Heineman then threw into left field trying to get Kenny Wilson at third, and he also scored. Robert Andino followed with a single that scored Nieto, who’d advanced all the way to third on the pivotal play.
Former LSU standout Alex Bregman went 0-for-4 and is 3-for-13 in the series.
Left-handed reliever Cory Luebke was added to the Zephyrs on Saturday, and reliever Jo-Jo Reyes was sent to Double-A Jacksonville.
Luebke was signed by the Marlins on July 6 after being waived by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He appeared in nine games with them, allowing 11 earned runs in 8.2 innings.
He had returned to the major leagues for the first time since 2012, when he had arm injuries, including two ulner collateral ligament tears. With the Pirates, his fastball had gotten back up to 92 mph.
“He’s a big kid (6-feet-4, 210 pounds), and he has a live arm,” Zephyrs pitching coach Storm Davis said.
Luebke was brought up after pitching two innings each July 10 and July 13 with Jacksonville in which he gave up five total hits and no runs.
Reyes allowed one run on three hits in one inning Friday after relieving starter Jarred Cosart with two out in the sixth. Reyes had been perhaps the Z’s best reliever much of the season, going 11 consecutive innings spanning seven games without giving up a run. However, he allowed three in one inning against Oklahoma City on June 17 and more recently two runs in a third of an inning at Memphis on June 26.
Infielder Cole Figueroa was added to the Zephyrs, and pitcher Asher Wojciechowski was designated for assignment. He is expected to be released. Wojciechowski was 0-2 with a 15.95 ERA with the Z’s, giving up 13 runs in 7.1 innings, including three home runs. … Fresno third baseman Matt Duffy, last year’s Pacific Coast League MVP, was designated for assignment by the parent Houston Astros on Saturday. Duffy, who hit .294 with 20 home runs, 104 RBIs and 94 runs for Triple-A champion Fresno in 2015, was hitting .226 this season. The move comes after the Astros signed Cuban star third baseman Yulieski Gurriel on Friday to a four-year, $47.5 million contract. Gurriel is expected to spend about three weeks in the minors before being called up to Houston. The Astros likely will move Bregman, the overall No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, from shortstop to third base with the Grizzlies.
Who: Grizzlies at Zephyrs
When: 4 p.m.
Where: Zephyr Field, Metairie
Probable pitchers: Grizzlies RHP Brad Peacock (3-4, 4.73 ERA); Zephyrs TBD
Radio: WODT-AM, 1280