The Albuquerque Isotopes jumped out to an early lead Tuesday afternoon, only to see it quickly disappear yet again. This time, though, they had some fight left in them.
Albuquerque rallied for a 10-7 victory over the visiting Sacramento River Cats, splitting the four-game series. A six-run sixth inning proved to be the difference.
“We’ll take the momentum any way we can get it,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “It’s nice to start a streak; a streak starts at one. We’re looking forward to changing things around. It’s been a tough season so far.”
The Isotopes (16-24) saw their first four batters reach base in the sixth, with three of them coming around to score to tie the game at 7-7. With one out, Brandon Barnes singled, prompting the River Cats (21-19) to bring in reliever Curtis Partch.
Roger Bernadina jumped on the first pitch Partch threw, blasting a go-ahead three-run homer to left-center. Sacramento never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
“He threw me a pitch that I was looking for,” Bernadina said. “It was a pitch middle-away and he gave me the fastball and right off the bat, I knew I got it.”
Tim Smalling had put Albuquerque ahead back in the second inning with a three-run homer to left. The lead did not last long as Darren Ford hit a two-out, two-run homer off Chris Rusin in the third.
Angelys Nina added an RBI single in the third to push the lead to 4-2, only to again see the River Cats respond. Adam Duvall led off the fourth with a home run and Trevor Brown later added an RBI double to center.
Things came unraveled for Rusin in the fifth. John Bowker and Duvall had RBI singles, followed by Jarrett Parker’s RBI triple.
Sacramento starter Clayton Blackburn (1-2) struggled, giving up nine runs, eight earned, on 10 hits in 5.1 innings. Rusin gave up seven runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings.
Aaron Laffey (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief. After two scoreless frames from Jairo Diaz, Tommy Kahnle earned his third save.
“It’s always good, play the last game (of a homestand) and get a W and hope from here that we can carry it from here,” Bernadina said. “Definitely go on the road on a good note.”
The Isotopes have Wednesday off before embarking on an eight-game road trip, starting in Round Rock on Thursday. Right-hander John Gray (1-4, 7.75 ERA) will start against Express right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (3-4, 4.10).
Around the Lab
Prior to the game, right-handers Alec Crawford and Javier Palacios were added to the roster from Rockies extended spring training. To make room for the pair of relievers, left-hander Carlos Hernandez was transferred to the short-season Boise roster and lefty Tyler Matzek was placed on the temporarily inactive list.