Starter John Ely tossed a complete-game shutout as the Albuquerque Isotopes (67-52) claimed a doubleheader sweep of the Tucson Padres (46-72) with a 4-0 win in the first game and 7-2 victory in the second contest on Wednesday night at Isotopes Park. For the first time in 'Topes history, three Albuquerque hurlers have double-digit wins.
Ely (12-7) held the Padres scoreless through his 7.0-inning complete game, scattering six hits while walking just one en route to his PCL-best 12th win on the season. The ace fanned eight on the evening to extend his circuit-leading strikeout count to 146, 22 more than his closest competitor. The complete-game shutout marks the second of Ely's career, the first thrown by an Albuquerque pitcher since July 28, 2011 and is the only complete game for the 'Topes this season. The right-hander has been phenomenal at home this year, posting a 2.92 ERA with an 8-2 record that ties the franchise mark for most wins at Isotopes Park, originally set by Giancarlo Alvarado in 2009.
Albuquerque scored all the runs it would need in the fourth inning of the first game as Scott Van Slyke roped a leadoff double and Matt Angle followed with a walk. With no outs and two runners on, Ivan De Jesus Jr. crushed a three-run homer to left, giving the 'Topes a 3-0 advantage.
The Isotopes added an insurance run in the fifth when Van Slyke smacked a one-out double to center and scored on a single from Angle, sending Albuquerque coasting to a 4-0 game one victory.
Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning of the second contest, the Isotopes' offense got rolling when Elian Herrera slapped a single to short, stole second in front of a walk to Alex Castellanos and scored on a single from Josh Fields to tie the score 2-2. With a runner on second, Van Slyke poked an RBI single to left, giving the 'Topes a 3-2 edge.
Albuquerque then ran away with it in the sixth, scoring four runs beginning with a double from Josh Bard and a walk to Ozzie Martinez. Angle followed with a pinch-hit single that loaded the bases and set the stage for Herrera, who belted a three-run triple to extend the lead 6-2. De Jesus Jr. then capped off the big inning with an RBI double that scored Herrera and made it 7-2.
Starter Derrick Loop (10-3) delivered a quality start, allowing only two runs on three hits through 6.0 innings of work in which he struck out five and walked two. Following his departure from the contest, relievers Erick Threets and Josh Wall closed out the seventh to preserve a 7-2 'Topes win. Loop joins fellow Isotopes Ely and Will Savage (10-5) with double-digit victories on the season.
Following a day off tomorrow, the 'Topes will travel to Reno for a four-game set against the Aces. 'Topes righty Fernando Nieve (5-6, 5.51) will face off against Reno right-hander Charles Brewer (8-6, 5.35) in an 8:05 PM MT start from Aces Ballpark.
Albuquerque will enjoy a much deserved day off before tomorrow before hitting the road for an eight-game swing against the Reno Aces and Colorado Springs Sky Sox. The 'Topes return home on August 18 for a crucial four-game series against the New Orleans Zephyrs that includes fireworks and a Green Chile bobblehead 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 online at www.abqisotopes.com or www.ticketmaster.com.