Chris Gutierrez sprayed a single into right field to score the go-ahead run, capping a three-run ninth inning rally on Sunday night to give the New Orleans Zephyrs a 6-5 win over the Oklahoma City RedHawks.
In the final game before the All-Star break, the Zephyrs rallied to get back to the .500 mark at 49-49 by earning their fourth win in five games at Bricktown Ballpark, and their sixth win in their last seven contests overall.
Former Tulane star Josh Zeid had converted all 10 of his save opportunities entering Sunday, and was handed a 6-4 lead in the ninth inning, but down to their final out, the Zephyrs rallied to score three times.
Jake Smolinski drew a one-out walk, and went to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Nick Green singled up the middle to score Smolinski, then raced all the way around to score the tying run a double into the left-center field gap by Matt Downs. After a walk to Koyie Hill, Gutierrez sent his fourth hit of the game into right field to score Downs, completing the Zephyrs' comeback.
Chris Hatcher stranded the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth to convert his Minor League-leading 27th save, and give New Orleans its fifth win this season when trailing entering the ninth inning, tops in the Pacific Coast League.
Jake Smolinski jumped on an 0-2 mistake by former Zephyr Wade LeBlanc in the first inning for a two-run homer, giving New Orleans an early lead. Robbie Grossman responded with a home run to lead off the bottom of the inning, slicing the lead in half, and Jon Singleton led off the next inning with his second home run of the series to tie the game.
Z's starter Doug Mathis issued three walks and had a throwing error in the fourth inning, allowing the RedHawks to score twice to grab the lead. New Orleans got a run back in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Downs, and could have tied the game but Kyle Jensen was thrown out at the plate on a double by Green.
New Orleans did tie the score an inning later on an RBI single by Gil Velazquez, but the Z's failed to plate the go-ahead run despite loading the bases with one out. The Zephyrs out-hit Oklahoma City 15-5 through the first 7 1/2 innings, but stranded 12 baserunners and saw the RedHawks then strung together three consecutive hits with two outs in the eighth against Adam Reifer, capped by a two-run triple by Ruben Sosa to give Oklahoma City a brief 6-4 lead.
Reifer (1-0) was credited with the win, while Zeid (4-1) suffered the loss.
The Zephyrs come out of the All-Star break with a four-game series against the Nashville Sounds, beginning Thursday at 7 p.m. at Zephyr Field.