The Albuquerque Isotopes have not had a good season by any measure, so it was only fitting to finish the home portion of their 2015 schedule on a down note. Albuquerque blew a late lead in a 5-4 loss to Colorado Springs on Sunday night.
A crowd of 12,631 was on hand for the last home game. That total means the Isotopes will finish with an average of 8,000-plus fans for the 12th time in 13 seasons.
“It’s awesome, it is a tremendous atmosphere, it is a tremendous park,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “The front office people (are) by far the best in the business.
“I like the fact the fans are very supportive and very demanding. I think it kind of goes with the attitude of Albuquerque.”
Albuquerque (59-77) was clinging to a 4-3 lead entering the ninth when Rex Brothers (5-2) took the mound. He promptly walked Juan Centeno and Matt Long.
After Pete Orr’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners over, Brothers finally threw a strike. Unfortunately for the Isotopes, Robinzon Diaz hit that strike for a go-ahead two-run single for the Sky Sox (58-77).
“Until the ninth inning we had it right where we wanted it, we had the right guy in the game,” Hill said. “It would have been really nice to repeat a walkoff win but that didn’t happen.”
Roger Bernadina did all of the damage offensively, smacking a two-out, two-run single up the middle in the first inning. He added a two-run homer to left in the fourth.
“It was great to have the award there and it’s really a lot of fun,” Bernadina said. “Then to go out and have the home run … it went well for me today. It’s a tough loss but I will do whatever I can to help the team.”
Bernadina, who has spent all season with Albuquerque, was named the team’s Power Hitter of the Year before the game as voted upon by his teammates. He finished the game 3-for-3 with a walk.
“If you look at Roger’s stats over the last couple of years he really hasn’t had an opportunity to get this many consistent at-bats,” Hill said. “It was nice to see him get the feel back for competing day in and day out.”
John Lannan, the only starting pitcher who was with the team all season, finished his home slate on a high note as well. The veteran lefty allowed just two runs, one earned, on seven hits while striking out two and walking none over six innings.
“The last couple of times he’s pitched he pitched well for five and then come undone in the sixth or one time in the seventh where it got away from him,” Hill said. “It’s nice he pitched six strong innings.”
Albuquerque will hit the road for the final eight games of the season, starting at Fresno on Monday at 8:05 p.m. Right-hander Boone Whiting (3-6, 5.43 ERA) will start for the Isotopes while right-hander Mark Appel (3-2, 4.69) starts for the Grizzlies, looking for his third win over Albuquerque in as many starts.
Around the Lab: Prior to the game, Isotopes lefty reliever Ken Roberts was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies and assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Roberts had been designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies on Friday to make room for lefty Jason Gurka on the 40-man roster. … Right-hander Ryan Arrowood was promoted from Double-A New Britain to fill the open spot on the Albuquerque roster.