METAIRIE, La. – Josh Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, rallying the Las Vegas 51s past the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Friday night, 2-1.
With the ‘Cakes nursing a 1-0 lead in the seventh, Travis Taijeron doubled with one out against Greg Nappo. Rodriguez, who played in 122 games with New Orleans in 2014, drilled his fourth home run of the year to vault the 51s into the lead.
Three Las Vegas relievers combined to retire the final nine Baby Cakes in a row, sending the ‘Cakes to their 16th loss in the last 22 games in front of a near-record crowd of 11,807, the second-largest in the franchise’s New Orleans history.
Starting pitchers Ricky Knapp and Kelvin Marte were deadlocked in a scoreless game until the bottom of the fifth, when Nick Noonan sliced a double into the left field corner. With two outs, pinch hitter Chad Hinshaw, making his Triple-A debut, blooped a single inside the right field foul line to score Noonan and put the Baby Cakes on top.
Marte limited the 51s to two hits in five innings in a spot start, and has now worked 8 2/3 scoreless frames over a pair of starts this season.
Knapp (2-4) struck out four and walked one in six innings to get the win for Las Vegas. Chasen Bradford needed just five pitches in the ninth inning to earn his sixth save.
The back-to-back hits in the seventh were the only blemishes against Nappo (0-1), who took the loss. Matt Juengel went 0-for-3 and saw his hit streak end at nine games, the longest by a Baby Cake this season.
The Baby Cakes and 51s continue the four-game series on Saturday at 6 p.m.