Koehler stymies Express, Z's win sixth straight
Tom Koehler is showing why he tied for the Minor League Baseball lead with 16 wins for Class AA Jacksonville a year ago.
Koehler shut out the Round Rock Express on three hits over six innings, and the New Orleans Zephyrs extended their winning streak to six games with a 4-0 blanking of their division rivals before a crowd of 10,768 in the Zephyrs' home opener.
The Z's have now won six in a row for the first time since July 12-21, 2008.
Only one batter reached third base in Koehler's six innings, after Chad Tracy doubled with one out in the fourth and advanced to third on a ground out. Koehler (1-0) then got Brad Nelson to bounce out to first to end the threat.
The Zephyrs' right-hander struck out the side in the second, and finished with five strikeouts.
New Orleans got all the offensive support they needed via a pair of home runs. Josh Kroeger belted a one-out solo homer in the second, and Bryan Petersen took advantage of back-to-back walks in the seventh by sending a 1-2 offering from Yhency Brazoban over the wall in right field, bumping the lead to 4-0.
Jay Buente fanned four batters in two innings of relief, and Steve Cishek worked around a two-out walk in the ninth to nail down the Zephyrs' second combined shutout of the season.
The Zephyrs pitching staff has a 1.37 ERA over its last five games, allowing just seven earned runs in 46 innings.
New Orleans will look for a seventh consecutive victory on Saturday night, when the series with Round Rock resumes at 6:00 p.m. Right-hander Adalberto Mendez (1-0) will face Tanner Scheppers, who will be making his 2011 debut.
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