Due to the Pacific Coast League All-Star Break and a postponed game against Colorado Springs (COL) it was quite a short week for the Memphis Redbirds. A three-game series at New Orleans (MIA) provided the club’s only action of the week.
The Redbirds went 1-2, dropping their overall record to 46-49, last in the American Southern Division but just three and a half games back of the division-leading Nashville Sounds (MIL).
July 11: Memphis at New Orleans, New Orleans wins 6-4
The Redbirds homered three times, but it was not enough to take down New Orleans in the series opener, as the Zephyrs earned a 6-4 win.
Memphis starting pitcher Marco Gonzales gave up the first four runs, but then put the Redbirds on the board first with a solo shot to right field in the third inning. Scott Moore also went yard in both the third and eighth innings but still the Redbirds were unable to complete the comeback.
Moore led Memphis at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two solo homers, and Greg Garcia added two hits and a double.
Gonzales lasted only three innings in his Redbirds debut, allowing four earned runs and seven hits. A quartet of relievers closed out the game for Memphis. Joe Donofrio and Seth Blair each pitched one perfect inning with one strikeout.
July 12: Memphis at New Orleans, Memphis wins 5-2
The Redbirds jumped out to a first-inning lead that they refused to relinquish on their way to a 5-2 win in New Orleans.
Xavier Scruggs got things going with a line drive double in the opening frame to score both Scott Moore and Stephen Piscotty. In the second inning, Greg Garcia piled on an RBI double of his own to extend the Redbirds lead to three runs.
Zach Petrick gave up a pair of solo dingers in the third that drew the Zephyrs within one, but Randal Grichuk wrapped up the win in the fifth with his 16th home run of the season, a two-run bomb to center.
Petrick picked up his fifth win of the season after allowing six hits and two earned runs in five innings of work, and the bullpen trio of Dean Kiekhefer, Pedro Feliciano and Eric Fornataro closed out the contest by giving up just one hit and no runs.
Memphis out-hit New Orleans 9-7, with Jermaine Curtis and Stephen Piscotty each going 2-for-4.
July 13: Memphis at New Orleans, New Orleans wins 6-2
After splitting the first two contests of the three-game series, Memphis was unable to come away with a win in the rubber match, as the Zephyrs took the series with a 6-2 victory.
The game had no shortage of long-balls, with six of the contest’s eight runs coming as a result of home runs. The two teams played four scoreless innings, then Memphis starter John Gast gave up solo shots in the fifth and sixth innings to spot the Zephyrs a two-run lead.
It didn’t last long, however, with Xavier Scruggs crushing a homer of his own to plate Tommy Pham and knot the contest at two runs apiece. Redbirds All-Star pitcher Angel Castro had a rough outing in relief of Gast, allowing four earned runs and five hits in just 1 2/3 innings of play to doom Memphis to a 6-2 defeat.
Pham was responsible for nearly half of the Redbirds’ offensive output, as he totaled three of Memphis’ seven hits. Gast put in a solid effort, earning a no-decision with two earned runs and five hits in six innings pitched.
July 14-16: No games. PCL All-Star break.
July 17: Colorado Springs at Memphis, Postponed
The series opener between the Sky Sox and Redbirds had to be postponed due to the visitors experiencing travel issues on their way to Memphis. The game has been rescheduled for a Saturday evening doubleheader at AutoZone Park.
Greg Garcia: Garcia had a solid week at the plate, with four hits including two doubles in 12 at-bats against New Orleans. Over his last 10 games, the Memphis shortstop is hitting .289.
Stephen Piscotty: The PCL All-Star played in two games against New Orleans this week, going 3-for-8 with two doubles. Piscotty ranks first on the Redbirds and second in the PCL with 27 two-baggers on the season.
Dean Kiekhefer: In his last four games, Kiekhefer has allowed no runs and only two hits in six innings pitched. Over that stretch, the Memphis lefty has struck out six batters with not a single walk.
Pete Kozma: Kozma went an ugly 1-for-8 this week, and is hitting .200 in his last 10 contests.
Angel Castro: Despite being named to the PCL All-Star Team, Castro has had a rough go in his last three appearances. In those contests, the right-handed pitcher has thrown five innings, giving up seven earned runs and 11 hits.
Randal Grichuk: Grichuk hit just 2-for-14 in the New Orleans series, and is batting .220 in his last 10 games.
Redbirds in the All-Star Game
While most of the team enjoyed three days off, Stephen Piscotty and Angel Castro headed to Durham for the Triple-A All-Star Game. The Pacific Coast League fell 7-3 to the International League, but Piscotty was solid in his reserve role, going 1-for-2 with a single. Castro pitched only 1/3 of an inning, striking out one and giving up one hit.
The Redbirds rank in the bottom half of the Pacific Coast League with 84 home runs in 95 contests, but that didn’t stop Memphis from smacking five dingers in three games against New Orleans this week.
Scott Moore hit two out of the park in the series-opening loss to the Zephyrs, and Randal Grichuk hit his team-leading 16th homer of the season the following night. The 16 by Grichuk puts him in the top-10 of the Pacific Coast League for long-balls.
July 11 — St. Louis Cardinals optioned LHP Tyler Lyons to Memphis Redbirds
July 12 — St. Louis Cardinals optioned C Audry Perez to Memphis Redbirds
July 14 — C Travis Tartamella assigned to Springfield Cardinals from Memphis Redbirds
July 17 — Memphis Redbirds placed C Audry Perez on the restricted list
July 17 — C Dante Rosenberg assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Palm Beach Cardinals
The Redbirds are at home for a four-game series against Colorado Springs starting Friday with a double-header on Saturday. On Monday, the homestand continues with four games at AutoZone Park against the Omaha Storm Chasers (KC).
Follow Austin Reynolds on Twitter @ReynoldsRant.
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