Pitching gems for the Albuquerque Isotopes have been few and far between this season. Thursday night was one of those rarities as Albuquerque silenced visiting Colorado Springs 3-1.
David Hale, Aaron Laffey (4-3), Miguel Castro and Justin Miller combined to shut down the Sky Sox (56-76). Hale gave up one run and four hits in 3.1 innings in his first start since being sent down by the Colorado Rockies.
“It was telling someone, that’s kind of how you draw it up coming out of spring training,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “Other than our starter not going five (innings).”
With Hale on a strict pitch count, Laffey came in and picked up the win in relief for the Isotopes (58-75). He gave up just two hits and one walk in 3.2 shutout innings.
“The one thing that I’ve really been doing well since the second half started is just being aggressive in the zone,” Laffey said. “Going straight at guys and I had a great defense behind me. Tonight a lot of balls on the ground, a lot of great plays behind me.”
Castro retired the Sky Sox in order in the eighth, striking out cleanup hitter Matt Clark on an unhittable breaking ball. Miller followed with a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Matt Long and Michael Reed to earn his seventh save.
“Obviously when you get the ball in the hands of the two guys that finished off the game for us and you have the lead, it feels pretty good,” Hill said. “The fact that we won that exciting game (an 11-6 rally on Wednesday), I think overall from the players’ perspective we scored a lot of runs yesterday and this time we pitched the ball well and we defended.”
Rafael Ynoa went 4-for-4 with a run scored and two stolen bases to pace the Albuquerque lineup. He also made several stellar plays in the field at third base to back the pitching staff.
“My priority is defense, you know,” Ynoa said. “My teammates know my big thing is my defense. That’s the thing that got me to play in the big leagues.”
Colorado Springs took a brief lead as Brandon Macias doubled and later scored on Luis Sardinas’ RBI single in the third inning. The Isotopes answered right away in the bottom of the frame as Ynoa, Trevor Story and Cristhian Adames hit consecutive singles and Wilin Rosario followed with a fielder’s choice RBI to make it 2-1.
They would tack on an insurance run in the sixth. Angelys Nina hit a leadoff double and Ryan Casteel followed with an RBI double of his own.
“It’s great to come down after that big come-from-behind win last night and shut them down as a pitching staff and as a defense,” Laffey said. “We really helped pick up the offense tonight after the way they picked up the pitching staff last night.”
Albuquerque and Colorado Springs will continue their series on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Eddie Butler (2-4, 6.00 ERA) will start for the Isotopes while right-hander Josh Roenicke (7-10, 5.96) starts for the Sky Sox.
Around the Lab: To make room for Hale on the active roster, right-hander Boone Whiting was placed on the temporary inactive list. … Albuquerque needs to win five of its remaining 11 games to avoid finishing with the lowest winning percentage (.437) in franchise history, set by last year’s team which went 62-80.