Isotopes Beat River Cats 5-4 In 17 Innings
NEED TO KNOW: It took only 17 innings, but the Albuquerque Isotopes (13-18) picked up their second-straight win Sunday afternoon, a 5-4 victory against the Sacramento River Cats (16-15) at Raley Field in Sacramento, CA.
DECIDING MOMENT: Albuquerque only had three hits in extra innings, and Brandon Barnes only had one hit all afternoon. Trying to snap an 0-for-7 day leading off the 17th inning, Barnes watched two balls go by before blasting a 2-0 pitch over the left center field wall, giving the Isotopes the all the boost they needed down the marathon's homestretch.
WHAT TOOK SO LONG: The Isotopes and River Cats battled back-and-forth all afternoon long. Albuquerque picked up a quick run in the first after a Ben Paulsen two-out double. He scored on Matt McBride's single. Tim Smalling smashed his first of two home runs on the day to lead off the second, but Sacramento then added up back-to-back runs in the third and fourth innings to tie the game up. After the River Cats took a 3-2 lead in the sixth, Smalling hit his second long ball to tie it back up in the seventh. The two teams then traded runs in the ninth to send the game to extra innings tied at four. Each team combined for seven straight scoreless innings until Brandon Barnes' 17th inning homer.
SMALLING GOES BIG: Third baseman Tim Smalling posted a 2-for-5 afternoon, but it was his two leadoff home runs in the second and seventh innings that kept the Isotopes in the game. His first long ball extended Albuquerque's lead to 2-0, while his second shot tied the game at three right after Sacramento had taken the lead.
50 SHADES OF (JON) GRAY: Starting pitcher and Colorado Rockies No. 1 prospect Jon Gray completed his second-straight strong start. The right-hander tossed six innings of four-hit ball, allowing just three earned runs. He struck out a season high seven batters, while walking only a single hitter. In his last two outings, Gray has tossed 11 innings, surrendering nine hits and five runs with nine strikeouts and just two walks.
WELCOME BACK ADAMES: Shortstop Cristhian Adames was activated from the disabled list prior to Sunday's game and wasted no time splashing back into the lineup. His ninth inning two-out RBI single gave Albuquerque a short-lived 4-3 lead. He finished the day 3-for-8 with an RBI. Adames has a team-leading nine multi-hit games and has picked up at least one hit in all but five of his starts this season.
BULLS IN THE PEN: After Jon Gray's solid six innings, manager Glenallen Hill turned the game over to the Isotopes bullpen. Five pitchers combined to toss the next 11 innings, allowing just one run. Right-hander Simon Castro turned in perhaps the most impressive relief outing, pitching three innings of one-hit shutout ball. The only hit he allowed was a two-out single in the 17th inning. Castro also struck out five batters without allowing a walk.
ON DECK: The Isotopes and River Cats will play the finale of their four-game series Monday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Left-handed pitcher John Lannan (0-1, 6.11) is schedule to start for Albuquerque, while Sacramento will go with right-hander Kevin Correia (0-0, 3.00). If you can pitch, one of the two teams may need you in their bullpen.
IN THE HOLE: After this four-game road trip to Sacramento, the Isotopes will return home to host the Fresno Grizzlies and River Cats during an eight-game homestand beginning May 12. The homestand features several giveaway items, including Pennants courtesy of Coca-Cola (May 15), Hats courtesy of Caliber's (May 17) and the Isotopes Baseball Card Team Set.