Zephyrs Top 'Topes, 9-5
The Albuquerque Isotopes (54-49) tried but could not dig out of an early hole as the New Orleans Zephyrs (50-53) took the final game of their four-game series, 9-5, on Monday afternoon at Isotopes Park.
New Orleans cracked the scoreboard first with a three-run burst in the third inning. With runners on first and second and one away, Jose Lopez singled to right-center to score Vinny Rottino for a 1-0 Zephyr lead. That brought up Mike Cervenak, who laced a triple to right-center field that plated two more runs, making it 3-0, Z's.
New Orleans then delivered a four-run blow to the âTopes in the fourth inning. Following a lead-off single from Ozzie Martinez, Tim Torres homered to left-center to give the Zephyrs a 5-0 edge. Three batters later, Lopez struck again with a two-run homer, pushing the Z's lead to 7-0. The visitors would tack on one more run in the top of the fifth via a bases-loaded walk from relief pitcher Adam Dedeaux for an 8-0 advantage.
Albuquerque finally got on the board in their half of the fifth inning. After Trayvon Robinson was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, Jamie Hoffmann followed with a walk, setting up A.J. Ellis, who ripped a three-run shot, his second homer in four days, to bring the Isotopes to within 8-3. The homer was the first hit of the game surrendered by Z's starter Tom Koehler, who then fired a pitch behind the head of the next batter, Justin Sellers, and was immediately ejected. Robinson was also ejected for arguing from the bench.
The âTopes continued to climb back into the game in the seventh inning. With runners on the corners and two down, Sellers hammered a double into the gap in left-center plating both base runners and bringing Albuquerque all the way back to within just three runs at 8-5.
After a scoreless eighth for New Orleans, the âTopes attempted to keep climbing in the bottom half of the inning. Jerry Sands started the rally by lifting a high pop-up that second baseman Lopez lost in the sun and dropped to the dirt for a one-out single, followed by another single from pinch-hitter Jay Gibbons. A walk to Joe Becker loaded the bases and spelled the end of Z's reliever Pete Andrelczyk, who gave way to Sandy Rosario. But the âTopes were unable to capitalize as Hoffmann struck out and Smith flew out to end the threat. In the ninth, New Orleans tacked on one final run of insurance on a solo homer from Cervenak that would be the final scoring of the afternoon in a 9-5 Zephyrs win.
Zephyrs reliever Darin Downs (1-0) earned the win in relief, giving up two runs on three hits in 2.2 innings of work. âTopes spot-starter Joe Newby (1-4) suffered the loss.
The âTopes now head off on an eight-game road swing against the Omaha Storm Chasers and the Zephyrs that begins in Nebraska tomorrow night. Lefty Randy Keisler (6-4, 3.99) makes the start in the series opener for the Isotopes against Chasers southpaw Mike Montgomery (3-6, 5.33) in a 6:05 PM MT start from Werner Park.
Albuquerque will return to Isotopes Park on Wednesday, August 3rd to start another eight-game homestand against the Tacoma Rainiers and Salt Lake Bees which includes a slew of great giveaways like Orbit Banks and Isotopes Hats as well as 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.
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