The Albuquerque Isotopes (42-31) attempted a late comeback but ultimately fell to the Oklahoma City RedHawks (31-43), 5-4, on Wednesday night at Isotopes Park.
Down 5-2 in the eighth inning, the Isotopes clawed to within one run when infielder Justin Sellers roped a lead-off single, setting up Joe Becker, who blasted a two-out, two-run homer into the bullpen in left-center that trimmed the lead to 5-4. The blast was Becker's first career Triple-A homer. Jamie Hoffmann gave the 'Topes faithful added hope with a bloop single that put the tying run on board, but the RedHawks' dominant closer, David Carpenter, struck out Jerry Sands to end the threat. That would prove to be as close as the Isotopes would get, as Carpenter continued his mastery in the ninth, retiring Albuquerque in order to seal the 5-4 win.
The Isotopes broke a scoreless tie in their half of the third inning, which started with a single from Sellers, who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from starting pitcher John Ely, then came home on a base knock by Eugenio Velez to make it 1-0 home team.
Albuquerque nursed that 1-0 lead through the fifth inning before Oklahoma City tied the contest. Drew Locke led off with a double to left-center and then quickly scored on a Wladimir Sutil double to knot the contest at one apiece.
With the score tied, 1-1, the RedHawks pulled ahead in the sixth. Brian Bogusevic started the frame with a triple to right-center, which brought Robinson Cancel up to bat. Cancel singled to bring in Bogusevic for a 2-1 Oklahoma City lead. The next batter, Tommy Manzella, continued the burst with a two-run homer to left, bringing the RedHawks' edge to 4-1.
Oklahoma City tacked on their final run of the night in the seventh with a solo shot from pinch-hitter Koby Clemens. But Albuquerque would begin to rally immediately in their half of the seventh, as Sands homered to left-center to cut the 'Topes' deficit to 5-2.
Reliever Wesley Wright (2-0) took the win for Oklahoma City, throwing two scoreless innings after starter Ryan Rowland-Smith's night ended after four innings. Ely (3-4) suffered the loss, going six innings and allowing four runs, all earned, on seven hits while walking three and striking out five.
The Isotopes will attempt to get back to their winning ways on Thursday with Major League Rehabbing Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton (0-0, 9.00) making the start for Albuquerque against 'Hawks lefty Gustavo Chacin (2-4, 3.88). After one inning of work, Broxton will give way to 'Topes right-hander Tim Sexton (3-0, 4.88). First pitch is 7:05 PM from The Lab.
Albuquerque's eight-game homestand finishes strong with a team poster giveaway tomorrow night and Isotopes beanie hats to the first 3,000 fans on Friday courtesy of Coca-Cola. 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.