A night removed from surrendering 22 runs, Isotopes pitching was in control thanks to Fife (9-5), who authored 7.0 superb frames, allowing just three runs on three hits while walking two and striking out one. From the fourth inning to the seventh, Fife set down 12 of 14 Aces batters, including nine in a row to claim his ninth win of the season.
The Isotopes jumped on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first when Elian Herrera led off the contest with a double and was promptly picked up when Sands smashed a monstrous home run to left, his 22nd of the season and seventh in his last 11 games, making the score 2-0 Isotopes.
Reno responded immediately in the bottom of the frame on a two-run homer by Mike Jacobs that knotted the game 2-2 and briefly grabbed a lead with a run in the bottom of the second. Taylor Harbin led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout from Konrad Schmidt, putting the Aces on top 3-2.
Albuquerque scored an equalizer in the top of the third. With two down, Alex Castellanos and Sands roped back-to-back singles, putting a runner in scoring position for Van Slyke, who took advantage with a single to center that plated Castellanos and tied the contest 3-3.
The stalemate would last until the top of the seventh, when the 'Topes broke the game open. Herrera led off the frame with a single, and scored all the way from first when Castellanos hammered a triple to the gap in left center, giving Albuquerque a 4-3 edge. After Sands plated Castellanos with a single, Van Slyke mashed a two-run homer to left giving the Isotopes a four-run cushion at 7-3. Sands and Van Slyke each finished the night with three hits and three RBI.
Reno would not go quietly into the night, however, mounting a rally in the eighth. With runners on first and second and two down, Cole Gillespie hammered a double to right that plated both runners and trimmed the lead to 7-5. After a walk to Harbin, the Aces executed a perfect double-steal, putting the tying run in scoring position. Reliever Angel Guzman was up to the challenge, however, coaxing a groundout to end the inning and the threat. That's as close as Reno would get the rest of the night, as closer Josh Wall (22) came on in the ninth and retired the Aces in order to preserve the 7-5 win.
The 'Topes will attempt to make it two wins in a row in the "Biggest Little City In the World" in a Sunday matinee beginning at 2:05 PM MT. Right-hander Blake Johnson (3-0, 5.19) makes the start for the Isotopes against Aces righty Trevor Bauer (4-0, 2.59).
After an eight-game road trip to Reno and then Colorado Springs, the 'Topes are back home on Saturday, August 18 for a four-game homestand with division-rival New Orleans. The weekend includes Saturday fireworks and a Green Chile Bobblehead giveaway!