The Albuquerque Isotopes (41-32) scored four runs in the eighth to overcome a two-run deficit and snatch a 6-4 win over the New Orleans Zephyrs (38-35) on Wednesday night at Isotopes Park. With Oklahoma City dropping its contest tonight, the 'Topes have now moved to within a game and a half of the PCL American Southern Division lead.
Trailing 4-2 in the eighth, Albuquerque began its late rally with a leadoff single from Josh Fields, who took second two batters later on a line-drive single from Luis Cruz. Tim Federowicz followed with a single of his own, plating Fields and bringing the Isotopes to within 4-3. New Orleans then called upon reliever Robert Ray to stop the bleeding, but Tyler Henson had a different idea, slapping a two-out RBI single up the middle that scored Cruz and knotted the game 4-4. With Joe Becker pinch hitting, Ray unleashed an errant pickoff throw to first that sailed into the stands and moved the runners into scoring position before intentionally walking the batter to load the bases with two outs. Z's reliever Beau Jones took over on the mound and hurled a wild pitch that allowed Federowicz to scamper home, giving Albuquerque a 5-4 lead. New Orleans catcher Steve Holm chased the wild pitch to the backstop but threw wildly to Jones covering the plate, allowing Henson to come in from third and extend the lead 6-4.
New Orleans used a pair of singles to put runners on the corners with one out in the ninth, but 'Topes closer Josh Wall (15) struck out the final two batters to seal a 6-4 'Topes victory.
The Z's grabbed an early three-run lead with a solo shot from Gil Velazquez in the first, an RBI single from Nick Green in the second, and a solo homer from Donnie Murphy in the sixth to jump ahead 3-0. Murphy's dinger was his second home run in as many nights against Albuquerque.
The 'Topes finally got on the board in the sixth with a leadoff triple from Fields, who trotted home on a two-run blast from Jerry Sands to narrow the deficit 3-2. Sands has been swinging a hot bat lately, driving in 13 runs in his last 10 games while pacing all Isotopes hitters with 44 RBI.
New Orleans tallied one more in the eighth when Green drew a leadoff walk and took second on a groundout to third. Holm then poked an RBI single to left that scored Green and put the visitors up 4-2.
The Isotopes and New Orleans will square off in the third game of the series tomorrow night at Isotopes Park. 'Topes right-hander Stephen Fife (5-4, 4.86) will toe the slab against Z's lefty Wade LeBlanc (4-5, 4.11) with first pitch slated for 7:05 PM.
Albuquerque's eight-game homestand rolls on with a rally towel giveaway tomorrow, followed by camo hats on Friday, fireworks on Saturday and a live performance by Rally on Sunday.