The Albuquerque Isotopes were down by three runs and looking listless going to the bottom of the ninth, having already stranded 12 runners on base. So of course they pulled off a ridiculous comeback to beat the visiting Salt Lake Bees 7-6 on Tuesday night.
Kyle Parker, Tommy Murphy and Roger Bernadina started the inning with consecutive singles to pull Albuquerque (47-57) within 6-4. Bernadina then stole second and the late throw sailed into center field for an error, enabling Murphy to score and Bernadina to move to third.
Tim Smalling followed with an RBI single to center, tying the game. Two batters later, Brock Bond singled to right to put runners at the corners with one out.
With Rafael Ynoa batting, Salt Lake (41-63) went with a five-man infield, bringing in left fielder Roger Kieschnick and putting him at first base. It was all for naught as catcher Rafael Lopez allowed a passed ball that enabled Smalling to score the winning run.
“The fact is that runs are scored by passed balls and wild pitches all the time,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “I’m sure it’s happened plenty of times before, a team wins the game on a wild pitch.
“I think the team scores a lot more times than the defense comes into play in that situation. I know at the end of the night, someone was getting some water poured on him. Anytime that happens, it’s a good day.”
Rehabbing Rockies starter Christian Bergman threw two scoreless innings for the Isotopes before being lifted due to pitch count. Simon Castro struck out six in three innings while allowing two unearned runs.
Nelson Gonzalez gave up one run in two innings while striking out five. Only Jairo Diaz (2-5) could not hold up his end of the bargain, following a scoreless eighth inning by giving up three runs in the ninth.
Rafael Lopez singled with one out and Gary Brown followed with a two-run homer to left. After a walk and a groundout, Grant Green hit an RBI triple to center field for an insurance run.
“For the most part our bullpen has done a nice job all year,” Hill said. “It goes without saying when we have movement and players know that they need to step up, they just do. We got big performances by Castro and Gonzo.”
The game was a welcome rebound after the Isotopes were outscored 20-1 in a doubleheader against Sacramento on Monday. They had just seven hits in those two games.
“The last two games that we played we got seven hits in 14 innings,” Hill said. “(So) it was nice to see we had double digits in hits (18) and it was nice to see we had more hits than they did and win the game.”
Albuquerque will continue the series with Salt Lake on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. The Isotopes will send prospect Jon Gray (5-6, 4.53 ERA) to the mound against Bees right-hander Nick Tropeano (3-3, 4.43).
Around the Lab: Prior to the game, the Colorado Rockies recalled left-hander Aaron Laffey, right-hander Justin Miller and infielder Cristhian Adames. First baseman Wilin Rosario was optioned to Albuquerque. … The Isotopes activated outfielder-first baseman Matt McBride from the disabled list. … Right-hander Miguel Castro, one of the pitching prospects acquired in the Troy Tulowitzki trade Monday night, was assigned to Albuquerque, though he will not join the team until later in the week.