Haeger Hamstrings 'Hawks in 6-2 Complete-Game Win
Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger fired his second consecutive complete game, and fourth this season, sending the Albuquerque Isotopes (56-47) to a 6-2 victory over the Oklahoma City RedHawks (53-49) in the series-opener Tuesday night at Isotopes Park. Haeger (10-6), who logged a season-high 137 pitches, is now tied for a league-best 10 wins while the Topes take a 2.5 game lead over the Hawks in the PCL's American Southern division.
The knuckler surrendered his first run in the first inning before holding the Hawks scoreless over the next seven. Although he allowed 11 hits, the reliable righty stranded eight total base-runners.
"He was outstanding," Isotopes manager Tim Wallach said. "He's been good all year. He's saved our bullpen all year and he did it again tonight.
"I expect this to be a great series all the way through," he added. "Haeger with the knuckleball can be frustrating but I expect Oklahoma City to come back tomorrow. Sure, it's great to win the first game, but we have three more games to go."
Mitch Jones paced the Topes offensively, falling a triple short of the cycle with three hits and two RBI. Jones, who belted a home run in all four of the Topes home games against Oklahoma City this season, continued the streak, sending a first-pitch solo shot for his seventh home run against the RedHawks this season. Jones has 15 RBI against the Topes' division arch-rival.
The Isotopes offense continued its unstoppable tear, scoring a run in every inning but two to earn its 11th win in the past 12 games and improve to 16-7 in July.
After Oklahoma City plated a run in the top of the first with a Julio Borbon double and Esteban German RBI groundout, Blake DeWitt answered with a two-out single in the bottom of the first to set up Hawks-killer Jones, who is hitting a sensational .516 in nine contests against Oklahoma City and delivered a double to center to establish a 1-1 deadlock.
Albuquerque pushed across another two-out run in the second to instantly exterminate the tie. In what has become an expectation, the Isotopes knocked two more doubles. After a J.D. Closser double to right, Sergio Garcia sent a two-bagger down the left-field line, cashing in Closser for the 2-1 edge. Two more runs courtesy of Brett Harper sent the Topes ahead 4-1. Harper lifted a sacrifice fly to left in the third and knocked in Jones, who reached base in all four of his at-bats, with a single in the fourth. Jamie Hoffmann extended his hitting streak to a team-high-tying 16 contests, dumping a single just inside the line in right field to pull within four games of tying the franchise record of 19 straight.
With Haeger holding the Hawks' bats hostage, Albuquerque backed the workhorse with two more runs after Hawks starter Bryan Corey (4-5), who picked up the loss, exited in the fifth. In the sixth, Jason Repko singled and moved to second on a Garcia sacrifice bunt, before Tony Abreu singled him in two batters later. Jones' solo shot came in the seventh to cap the Isotopes scoring and end a three-game losing skid against the RedHawks.
Albuquerque will look to take two in a row from the Hawks tomorrow behind lefty Scott Elbert (1-1, 6.27), who will battle RedHawks right-hander Luis Mendoza (3-4, 4.55) in a 7:05 PM MT start at Isotopes Park.
The Isotopes big eight-game homestand rolls on tomorrow with Dukes Retro Night, featuring the induction of the 2009 class of baseball legends to the Albuquerque Professional Baseball Hall of Fame. On Thursday, the Topes will have a TV giveaway night courtesy of Baillios before wrapping up the homestand Friday with a fireworks extravaganza 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.albuquerquebaseball.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
• Discuss this story on the Pacific Coast League message board...
Pacific Coast League Stories from July 28, 2009
- Romero, Arencibia Lead Three Hit Shutout Over Beavers - Portland Beavers
- Haeger Hamstrings 'Hawks in 6-2 Complete-Game Win - Albuquerque Isotopes
- Z's Win - New Orleans Baby Cakes
- Sounds Open Homestand With 6-1 Loss - Nashville Sounds
- Redbirds Rip Round Rock - Memphis Redbirds
- RedHawks at Isotopes Tonight - Oklahoma City Dodgers
- 'Strike Out Breast Cancer, Bark in the Park, Paul Revere and the Raiders Top Beavers Homestand - Portland Beavers
- Zephyrs hosting Hornets Night this Sunday - New Orleans Baby Cakes
- Sarpy County Stadium Groundbreaking Scheduled - Omaha Storm Chasers
- Aces Hang On For 7-6 Win - Reno Aces
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.