By Juan Kincaid| August 21, 2016 at 3:47 AM CDT - Updated July 1 at 2:50 PM
Jake Esch pitched seven strong innings, and the New Orleans Zephyrs defeated the Oklahoma City Dodgers, 3-2 on Saturday night in the opener of a four-game series.
The Zephyrs have won 10 of 11 games to return to the .500 mark for the first time since June 23. Nine of the victories have come by one or two runs.
Esch (2-0) notched his second quality start in as many outings this season at Zephyr Field. The right-hander limited Oklahoma City to two runs and four hits, struck out seven and walked one.
The Z's capitalized on two errors in the third inning to give Esch the lead. Dodgers shortstop Drew Maggi misplayed a potential double play grounder by Destin Hood for his first miscue of the inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, J.T. Riddle's grounder up the middle appeared to ricochet off the pitching rubber to Maggi, whose throw to first was in the dirt for another error, allowing a run to score and the inning to continue.
Logan Bawcom then walked Elliot Soto to force in another run, giving the Z's a 2-0 advantage.
Jack Murphy's sacrifice fly in the fifth cut the Dodgers' deficit in half, but the potential tying run was tagged out at the plate to end the inning as Corey Brown attempted to score on a wild pitch.
New Orleans responded an inning later with three consecutive two-out singles, capped by Matt Juengel's run-scoring knock to push the lead to 3-1.