For the second straight night the Albuquerque Isotopes (1-1) reached double-digits in hits, but this time the Omaha Royals (1-1) were able to scratch out more runs, handing the 'Topes their first defeat of the season on a blustery Friday night at Isotopes Park.
The Royals jumped out first in the second inning when Tug Hulett dropped a ball into left field off Albuquerque starter Giancarlo Alvarado that scored Chris Lubanski from second to give the visitors an early 1-0 edge.
Albuquerque answered in the bottom of the third when Jason Repko plated Hector Luna with a sacrifice fly off Omaha starter Luke Hochevar to knot the game at 1-1.
The stalemate would not last long, however as Lubanski hammered his second home run in as many nights in the fourth to push the Royals ahead, 2-1.
Alvarado ran into more problems in the fifth frame. After giving up a lead-off double to Hulett, Mitch Maier added another two-bagger that gave Omaha a two-run cushion at 3-1. After a strikeout and a walk, Alvarado was pulled in favor of Jeff Weaver, who immediately surrendered a three-run homer to Kila Ka'aihue that increased the lead to 6-1 Omaha. Alvarado (0-1) would wind up taking the loss after yielding five runs on five hits in 4.2 innings of work while striking out four.
The 'Topes would not go down without a fight, however, as Repko hit a solo home run the next inning, his second big-fly in as many games, to narrow the score to 6-2.
That was the extent of the damage to Hochevar (1-0), who snared the victory after allowing two runs, one earned, on seven hits in five innings while walking one and striking out one.
Albuquerque kept chipping away, adding a run in the seventh and another in the eighth, but the Royals were able to keep a comfortable distance by plating a run in the sixth, seventh, and eighth en route to the 9-5 win.
The only 'Topes reliever able to stanch the Royals attack was Tanyon Sturtze, who struck out the side in the ninth.
In addition to Repko's heroics at the plate, outfielder Xavier Paul tied a franchise record with three doubles in a 3-for-4 performance with a walk.
Albuquerque will look to get back in the win column Saturday with the third of four games against Omaha. Left-handed veteran Eric Milton (0-0, No ERA) takes the mound for the Isotopes against fellow south-paw Heath Phillips (0-0, No ERA) in a 7:05 PM start from The Lab.
More great promotions continue this weekend as the Isotopes finish off the series against the Omaha Royals. Tomorrow, free T-Shirts will be distributed as part of Wear Pink to Pink Power Night, an evening to raise funds for the fight against Breast Cancer. On Sunday, the 'Topes will celebrate Easter with an Easter Egg hunt on the outfield at Isotopes Park. 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.albuquerquebaseball.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.