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Seventh-inning rally helps 'Topes derail Express, 6-4

August 31, 2009 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Albuquerque Isotopes News Release

Staging a five-run seventh inning rally that included four doubles, the Albuquerque Isotopes (76-61) secured a 6-4 win over the Round Rock Express in the series-opener Monday night at Isotopes Park just one night after clinching the PCL American Southern division title.

The Isotopes relied heavily on recently dubbed All-PCL Team members Mitch Jones and Scott Strickland as Jones brought the ‘Topes within one and ignited the rally with a pinch-hit, bases-loaded double in the seventh with one out. Strickland picked up his second save in as many days with 10 pitches for a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the victory and move the closer one save away from tying the PCL record with 32 on the season.

Prior to the seventh inning, Albuquerque could not get much of anything going off starter Billy Sadler, who went just three innings, and reliever Andy Van Hekken. Trailing 4-1, a free pass to Jamie Hoffmann from Van Hekken to open the seventh followed by a Jason Repko double and an A.J. Ellis walk chased Van Hekken. With the stage set, bases-loaded guru Jones ripped a double down the left-field line off Casey Daigle (4-2). The two-bagger increased Jones' RBI total to 95 and cut the deficit to 4-3.

With Ellis on third and Jones on second, Daigle unleashed a wild pitch to plate Ellis and knot the score at 4-4. After Jones moved to third, Tony Abreu lifted a sacrifice fly to give the ‘Topes the go-ahead run, plating Jones for a 5-4 Albuquerque advantage. Chin-Lung Hu sent a hot shot up the middle past second that just made it to the infield grass and past the Express infielders as Hu turned what seemed to be an out into a double. Hector Luna dumped the ‘Topes' fourth double of the inning into right field pushing across Hu for a 6-4 lead that turned out to be all the ‘Topes would need.

Josh Lindblom (3-0) was awarded the win after pitching a scoreless seventh in relief of starter Tim Corcoran. Lindblom surrendered a double to lead off the inning before fanning two and inducing a fly out to strand the runner. The two strikeouts make it 31 on the season in 36 innings of work. Brent Leach followed with a scoreless frame before Strickland reliably closed down the ninth.

Round Rock's Chris Johnson and Mark Saccomanno scored the four runs off Corcoran, who went a season-high six innings in his fourth start. The right-hander yielded just three earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.

After walking Johnson and allowing a single to Saccomanno to open the second, Corcoran fielded and misfired a sacrifice bunt that sent home Johnson before a base knock from Brian Esposito delivered Saccomanno for a 2-0 Express edge.

Albuquerque countered with one in the bottom of the frame thanks to a Hu single. The infielder, who collected three hits, cashed in Ellis, who was aboard via a walk to make it 2-1. Saccomanno unloaded a two-run shot in the sixth, but Albuquerque batted around in the seventh pushing across the necessary runs and prevail.


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