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Redbirds earn series split with Z's
Curtis sacrifice fly in ninth provides game-winning run
08/29/2013 10:49 PM ET

Jermaine Curtis hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to break a tie game, and the Memphis Redbirds beat the New Orleans Zephyrs 2-1 on Thursday night.

The teams split the four-game series, which was good enough to Memphis to move into a tie with Omaha for first place in the American Northern Division with four games remaining in the season. The Iowa Cubs sit just two games back in the race.

Starting pitchers Brad Hand and Carlos Martinez engaged in a pitchers duel that saw the teams combine for nine hits through the first seven innings.

Kyle Jensen gave New Orleans the lead with a home run deep to right-center field with two outs in the second inning.

Memphis came back to tie the score in the third, capitalizing on a leadoff walk to Audry Perez, who then moved to second on a bunt by Martinez. With two outs, Ryan Jackson ripped a single up the middle, and Perez scored when the ball got away from Z's catcher Kyle Skipworth on Bryan Petersen's throw to the plate.

The Zephyrs loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the third, but Martinez escaped damage by getting Jordan Brown to bounce into a force out.

Martinez then struck out five of the next six batters he faced, and finished with nine strikeouts in seven innings.

Memphis knocked Hand from the game in the eighth when Perez led off with a single and Mike O'Neill walked with one out, but James Leverton got out of the jam by inducing an inning-ending double play from Ryan Jackson.

In the ninth, Jamie Romak hit a double off the base of the right field wall and was lifted for pinch-runner Adron Chambers, and following a walk to Greg Garcia, Leverton unleashed a wild pitch to advance both runners. An intentional walk to Justin Christian loaded the bases for Curtis, whose fly ball to right was deep enough to allow Chambers to slide in safely ahead of the throw with the go-ahead run.

Jorge Rondon retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to pick up his first save of the year.

Lee Stoppelman (1-0) worked around a single and a walk in the eighth inning to earn the win in his Triple-A debut, while Leverton (2-3) suffered the loss.

The Zephyrs welcome the Albuquerque Isotopes to town for the final series of the 2013 season, beginning Friday at 7 p.m.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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