Zephyrs beat Sounds

Zephyrs 9, Sounds 5

New Orleans snapped a 4-4 tie by scoring two runs in the fourth on a sacrifice fly and an error, Nick Green hit a solo home run in the fifth, and the Zephyrs pulled away in tying the series at a game each Friday night.

Nashville got to starter Doug Mathis (5-7) in the second when third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff fielded a grounder with the bases loaded but slipped while throwing home trying to get the force out. That enabled two runs to score, touching off a four-run inning.

Mathis, who allowed just one earned run, then shut out the Sounds until being relieved by James Leverton to start the seventh.

SATURDAY’S GAME

What: New Orleans Zephyrs vs. Nashville Sounds

When: 6 p.m.

Where: Zephyr Field, Metairie

Probable pitchers: Zephyrs LH Duane Below (5-3, 2.39 ERA) vs. Sounds RH Johnny Hellweg (7-4, 2.82)

Broadcast: WMTI 106.1 FM.

PROMOTION: The first 1,000 fans will receive a Zephyrs baseball card set.

And it’s Baseball Bingo night. Fans can follow along on their bingo cards while watching the game for a chance to win prizes.

GAME FACE

Hellweg, 24, just returned from his first major league shot, a two-week stint with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Z’s are his first Triple-A opponent since his return.

The last time the teams met, from June 22-25 in New Orleans, Hellweg left an impression, and not just because he is 6-foot-9.

He pitched the opener of that series, scattering six hits over six innings in a 1-0 Sounds victory in which the Zephyrs’ hitters simply could not get into a rhythm. Hellweg induced four double plays.

Hellweg was called up right after that series, on June 27. However, in four appearances with Milwaukee, he allowed 13 runs in 10.2 innings and went 0-3. He was optioned down to Single-A Wisconsin on July 12 to keep him pitching every fifth day while the team decided whether to bring him back, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. However, it appeared he was being allowed to get his confidence back.

At Wisconsin, he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings in a 6-2 victory. Hellweg, who had an 0.82 ERA in his past five games before being called up, said he has kept his head up after the battering with the Brewers.

“I’m still confident,” said Hellweg, who was obtained in July 2012 in the trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels. “That’s going to put more of a drive in me to come back and do it right the next time.”

UP & DOWN

Zephyrs third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff was activated from the disabled list and was in the lineup Friday.

Third baseman Zack Cox also was activated from the DL but was optioned to AA Jacksonville, as was infielder Chris Gutierrez.

Kouzmanoff had been out since June 22 with a strained intercostal muscle.

For 26 games before the injury occurred, he had hit .298 with 20 RBIs.

Gutierrez had hit .500 (8-for-16) in his past six games. It was his second stint this season with the Zephyrs.

EXTRA BASES

Bryan Petersen, who became the Zephyrs’ career hits leader in Thursday night’s opener, went 3-for-3 in that game and has 348 hits. Petersen, who did not play in Friday’s game, had doubled in the first inning Thursday, edging him closer to another record – Raul Chavez’s franchise mark of 68 doubles. Petersen now has 66. Petersen said he was proud of the hits record, although some might find it dubious because it also means a player has been in AAA longer than he would like. “I don’t see it as a negative at all,” he said. “It means I’ve been productive, wherever I’ve been. I think it’s pretty cool. I have the ball, and I have a spot picked out on my mantel.” …. The teams came into Friday night 7-7 in their series. Nashville won the opener for the second time in two series. New Orleans has lost seven of its past eight series openers. … Nashville leads the Pacific Coast League with 17 homers in July. The Sounds had homered in eight of their past 11 games heading into this series, including seven consecutive games from July 3-7.

Darrell Williams