The Albuquerque Isotopes (60-43) allowed three runs in the 11th, the last courtesy of a walk-off, RBI single by Elio Sarmiento, in a 5-4 loss to the Round Rock Express (43-60) on Tuesday night at the Dell Diamond. The defeat snaps the 'Topes' four-game winning streak, but is just the team's fourth loss since the All-Star break.
The Isotopes initially claimed a two-run lead in the 11th, beginning with a leadoff walk to Alex Castellanos. Josh Fields then rolled a grounder to short and Castellanos was able to beat the throw to second, avoiding both the force out and double play. In an attempt to salvage an out on the fielder's choice, second baseman Yangervis Solarte unleashed an errant throw that allowed Fields to reach safely and Castellanos to take third. Facing no outs and runners in scoring position, Albuquerque padded its lead on an RBI single from Scott Van Slyke, and following a walk to Jerry Sands that loaded the bases, added another tally when Matt Angle collected an RBI knock of his own that made it 4-2 'Topes.
The Express refused to call it quits, storming back in the bottom half of the frame with a one-out single from Brad Nelson. Joey Butler then coaxed a walk from 'Topes reliever Angle Guzman (2-1), and Solarte grounded out to first to advance both runners. With Round Rock down to its final out, Matt Kata singled to third, but a throwing error from Castellanos allowed the batter to take second while also sending Nelson and Butler home to tie the game 4-4. Sarmiento then completed the comeback with a two-out RBI single that scored the runner from second and gave the Express a 5-4 walk-off victory.
Round Rock originally took an early 1-0 lead in the opening frame on an RBI knock from Nelson, but the 'Topes evened the score in the sixth with a solo shot from Castellanos.
The score remained knotted 1-1 until the 10th, when Tim Federowicz broke the tie on a one-out, solo homer to left that gave Albuquerque a 2-1 edge. The advantage wouldn't last long, however, as Round Rock evened the tally in their half of the inning beginning with a leadoff walk to Kata, who advanced to second on a single and settled at third on a sac-bunt. With the tying run 90 feet away, Guilder Rodriguez lifted a deep sac-fly to center that scored Kata and tied the game 2-2.
Isotopes starter Derrick Loop delivered a strong performance despite not factoring in the decision. The southpaw tossed 7.0 frames in which he allowed only one run on five hits while fanning five and walking one.
Texas Rangers rehabbing starter Neftali Feliz was impressive as well, surrendering just one hit through 3.0 frames of work.
Albuquerque continues its four-game set with the Round Rock Express tomorrow at 6:05 PM. 'Topes righty Fernando Nieve (5-6, 5.81) will square off against Express left-hander Ben Snyder (2-4, 3.88) in the second game of the series.
The 'Topes eight-game road swing rolls on with sets against the Round Rock Express and Nashville Sounds. Following the completion of the series', Albuquerque returns home for an eight-game stand that features a cowbell and Dodgers replica stadium giveaway. 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.