April 22, 2012 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Albuquerque Isotopes
In a marathon that would've exhausted even Pheidippides, the Albuquerque Isotopes (10-8) survived the Oklahoma City RedHawks (12-6) 11-10 in a wild 14-innings on a blustery Sunday afternoon-turned evening at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The "Topes have now won six straight games, tied for the longest winning streak by any team in the Pacific Coast League this season, and the 14-frame contest marks the longest game played by Albuquerque this year.
After five straight scoreless frames in which the teams were deadlocked 10-10, the "Topes finally broke the stalemate in the 14th thanks to a lead-off triple by Oklahoma-native Josh Fields. "Hawks reliever Sergio Perez coaxed two groundouts and looked to be on the cusp of stranding Fields at third until Tim Federowicz bounced an infield single to short that plated the runner and gave Albuquerque an 11-10 lead.
The Isotopes had the lead, but were not out of the woods, as Diory Hernandez led off the home half of the 14th with his own infield single to short, putting the tying run aboard. Brent Leach (1), Albuquerque's eighth pitcher of the game, was unfazed however, striking out the next three batters in succession to preserve the hard-earned 11-10 win and secure his first save of the season.
The fact the game went into extras at all was attributable to a wild swing in the seventh and the eighth innings that saw the lead change three times in an inning and a half. With Albuquerque clinging to a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh, the RedHawks knotted the contest with an RBI double by Scott More and took the lead when Brian Bixler bounced a two-out grounder with the bases loaded in the direction of shortstop Lance Zawadzki that was deflected by third baseman Jeff Baisley for an unlucky RBI single that gave Oklahoma City a 7-6 edge.
It would prove to be a short-lived lead, as the "Topes roared back in the top of the eighth, scoring four more runs courtesy of two "Hawks miscues to take the lead right back. After Josh Bard led off the inning with a single, Zawadzki reached on an error by RedHawks pitcher Xavier Cedeno to give Albuquerque two on with nobody out. Trent Oeltjen then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt that was picked up by third baseman Bixler and thrown up the right field line, allowing Bard to rumble home with the tying run while Zawadzki scampered into third. It was eventful afternoon for Bard, who had a grand slam, the first by an Isotope this season, to help give the "Topes a 6-4 lead in the fourth. Alex Castellanos gave Albuquerque the lead with a sacrifice fly to center before Jerry Sands extended the advantage with an RBI double, scoring Oeltjen and making the score 9-7, "Topes. Two batters later, Sands scored on a two-out single by Baisley, giving the visitors a 10-7 lead.
Again, however, Oklahoma City responded in the bottom of the eighth with three more runs secured controversially. After Albuquerque reliever Scott Rice started the frame with a walk to Brad Snyder, Jimmy Paredes lined a ball down the left field line that appeared to be foul to everyone in attendance but third base umpire Cory Blaser, who inexplicably ruled the ball fair, allowing Paredes to coast into second with a double. With runners on second and third, Carlos Corporan immediately took advantage of the good fortune by blasting a three-run homer to right that tied the game at 10-10 and ultimately sent the contest into extra frames.
Albuquerque and Oklahoma City will reconvene on Monday with right-handed reliever Will Savage (3-0, 2.13 ERA) making a spot-start for the Isotopes against "Hawks lefty ace Dallas Keuchel (3-0, 0.90 ERA) in a 6:05 PM MT start from Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
After a series in Oklahoma City and another in New Orleans, the Isotopes are back home on Monday, April 30 for a loaded homestand that kicks off with the first of three 50-Cent Hot Dog Nights and includes back-to-back weekend fireworks. Tickets for any Isotopes game may be purchased at the Isotopes Park Box Office, at Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or on-line at www.abqisotopes.com or www.ticketmaster.com.