Metairie, LA - Wednesday's early start did not change the Redbirds' luck Wednesday as they fell for the seventh straight day. New Orleans broke a 3-3 tie with a run in the seventh inning and added two more in the eighth for a 6-3 win at Zephyr Field.
The game was scoreless through four innings as Memphis starter John Webb matched New Orleans starter Kyle Denney until Webb struggled with the strike zone in the fifth. Webb walked Alberto Castillo to start the inning and he advanced on Denney's sacrifice bunt. Bernie Castro grounded out to second for the second out and Castillo moving to third. George Lombard came through with a two-out single and a 1-0 New Orleans lead. Lombard then stole second base before Ryan Church drew the second walk of the inning. Larry Broadway cashed in both runners with a slicing double down the right field line.
Meanwhile, Denny sailed into the sixth inning having allowed just three hits while striking out seven Rebirds hitters. Junior Spivey opened the inning with a single and John Gall drew a walk. Zephyrs manager Tim Foli opted to lift Denny from the game in favor of former first round pick Bill Bray. Juan Diaz jumped on a 2-2 pitch and took it over the left field wall to tie the game 3-3. It was Diaz's second homer of the season. He is the only Redbird with a home run through the first seven games.
New Orleans scored an unearned run in the seventh to take the lead for good. With one out, Ryan Church reached safely on Juan Diaz error at first base. Church stole second base and Larry Broadway's comebacker to Carmen Cali (0-3) moved Church to third base. Pinch-hitter Mike Vento delivered a clutch single to put the Z's up 4-3.
The Zephyrs padded their lead in the eighth inning, taking advantage of another Diaz error. With two on and two out, it looked as if Josh Kinney had worked out of the jam when Lombard hit a routine ground ball in Diaz's direction. However, the ball trickled between the first baseman's legs scoring Alberto Castillo from third and Bernie Castro from second. Castro never broke stride rounding third and easily beat Diaz's throw to the plate.
Bill Bray (3-0) picked up the win in relief despite allowing Diaz's sixth inning blast. Jason Bergmann retired the side in order in the ninth for his first save of the season. Four New Orleans pitchers combined to strike out fifteen Memphis batters.
The Redbirds wrap up their season-opening road trip Thursday night at 7:00 PM.
NOTES: Redbirds hitters lead the PCL with 80 strikeouts...Wednesday's game began at 11:30 a.m. to accomodate 9,079 school kids as a part of the Zephyrs annual D.A.R.E. program...First baseman Brian Daubach is eligible to come off the DL Thursday, but that will be a game time decision.
Thursday Night's Probables:
Memphis - LHP Randy Leek (0-1, 7.50)
New Orleans - LHP Michael O'Connor (0-0, 5.79)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.