The Albuquerque Isotopes had their chances to complete a rally Wednesday night. Too many times, however, they left runners stranded in scoring position in a 7-6 loss to the Salt Lake Bees.
Albuquerque (14-12) had two critical missed opportunities late in the game. Trailing by one run, the Isotopes had runners at the corners in the sixth and eighth innings with one out, but back-to-back strikeouts ended both frames with the tying run 90 feet away.
“It’s been a struggle, you know, for the last week or so really for getting runners in from third,” manager Damon Berryhill said. “We’re putting them out there, we’re just chasing a lot of balls out of the zone. It’s almost like we’re putting pressure on ourselves, instead of putting pressure on that pitcher, we’re turning around and putting it on ourselves right now. That’s got to change, we’ve got to do a better job executing in these situations.”
Home runs accounted for four of Albuquerque’s six runs. Griff Erickson hit a solo shot in the second inning to briefly make it 3-0. Alex Guerrero hit a two-run blast in the third and Joc Pederson hammered a solo homer in the seventh, but it could not make up the deficit.
“It’s been really weird here,” Berryhill said. “We had some home runs hit tonight, but this homestand the ball really hasn’t been flying around.”
The Bees (11-16) did the bulk of their damage with a six-run third inning. All the runs scored with one out.
Matt Long singled and went to second on a balk. Grant Green drove him in with a single to center. C.J. Cron then reached on an error by left fielder Chone Figgins, who missed a flyball, and Green scored on the misplay.
After a Brennan Boesch RBI single tied the game 3-3, Luis Jimenez blasted a two-run homer to left. Drew Heid would follow with a single and Luis Martinez smoked an RBI double to left-center.
Salt Lake tacked on what proved to be the winning run in the fifth. Boesch and Jimenez singled and Heid walked to load the bases. Two batters later, Jimmy Swift drove in Boesch with a sacrifice fly to left.
Carlos Frias (0-1) took it on the chin in his first Triple-A start. The right-hander allowed seven runs, six earned, on nine hits and three walks in five innings.
“Carlos, for his first start, had that rough inning,” Berryhill said. “Other than that he was pretty sharp. It’s unfortunate that with the doubleheaders and spot starts, we’re just really thin in the bullpen right now. I needed to get at least five out of Carlos and he gave me five. It was just that one inning that he made some mistakes, was kind of in the heart of the plate. They were hitting the ball where we weren’t.”
There were a few bright spots. Pederson went 3-for-4, with all of his hits off left-hander Wade LeBlanc (3-1). Yimi Garcia retired all six batters he faced in relief, while Stephen Fife pitched a scoreless inning in just his second relief outing of the season. Daniel Moskos pitched a scoreless ninth.
“Yimi did a great job, Fife coming in for an inning and then (Moskos) shutting them down,” Berryhill said. “They gave us an opportunity to come back and win that ballgame.”
The Isotopes will try to salvage a series split Thursday at 11:05 a.m. Matt Magill (2-1, 4.94 ERA) will face the Bees’ Jarrett Grube (2-1, 3.46).
Around the Lab
Contrary to several internet reports that Albuquerque right-hander Red Patterson would be called up to pitch in the Dodgers’ doubleheader Thursday, Berryhill said Patterson is battling the flu and is not available. It is unknown who the Dodgers may call up at this point. … Magill, Fife, Garcia, Jose Dominguez (two innings pitched Monday) and Colt Hynes (one-third of an inning pitched Tuesday) are the only other Isotopes pitchers on the 40-man roster.