The Albuquerque Isotopes (42-33) spotted the Oklahoma City RedHawks (33-43) a six run lead early and ended up futilely chasing the 'Hawks the rest of the night, falling 11-7 in a series-ending loss Friday night at Isotopes Park. The 'Topes have now lost a season-high three straight games at home and are currently in a tie with Round Rock for first place in the PCL's American Southern Division.
Oklahoma City quickly took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a Collin DeLome one-out solo home run to right field and quickly added to the advantage with five runs in the second. 'Topes starter Ian Snell walked Tommy Manzella, hit Oswaldo Navarro with a pitch, and issued another walk to Brandon Barnes, loading the bases with nobody out for Brian Esposito, who hit a double to right that scored Manzella and Navarro to make it 3-0, Oklahoma City. Two batters later, J.B. Shuck socked a triple that plated Barnes and Esposito for a 5-0 RedHawks edge. A sacrifice fly from DeLome followed, capping the five-run outburst and giving the visitors a 6-0 lead.
Albuquerque quickly got to work trying to erase the deficit in the bottom of the second, as J.D. Closser led off the inning with a double and was eventually brought home on a two-out RBI single from Justin Sellers that cut the gap to 6-1.
The home team then roared back into the game with a four-run surge in the third to make it a one-run contest. Eugenio Velez started off with a single, which was followed by an RBI double from Ivan De Jesus, Jr. that scored Velez and made it 6-2, RedHawks. Jerry Sands then ripped a two-run homer to center to pull Albuquerque within 6-4. That brought Trayvon Robinson up to bat, and the outfielder responded with a solo home run (his team-leading 17th of the season) that sliced Oklahoma City's lead down to one run, 6-5.
Unfortunately for the 'Topes, that would be as close as they would get to the RedHawks for the rest of the night. Oklahoma City took a 7-5 lead in the top of the fourth on a one-out, solo homer from Esposito and tacked on another run in the fifth when DeLome trotted home on a fielding error at second by Velez that made the score 8-5.
After Oklahoma City scored another in the sixth, Albuquerque answered with another long-ball, this one a solo blast from Sellers that drew Albuquerque to within 9-6.
Again, the teams traded runs in the eighth, this time by swapping home runs. A pinch-hit solo homer by Drew Locke gave the 'Hawks a 10-6 advantage before Sands hammered his second home run of the game, a laser to left, to make the score 10-7 Oklahoma City. The two dingers on the day for the slugging Sands marked the first time this season he'd recorded two big flies in the same game.
A miraculous comeback was not in the offing, however, as the 'Hawks scored one final time in the top of the ninth to cruise to a 11-7 win.
Snell (0-1) suffered the loss for Albuquerque while 'Hawks starter Nelson Figueroa (5-3) earned the victory.
The Isotopes will head to Des Moines, Iowa to begin a four-game set against the I-Cubs beginning on Saturday night. Lefty Dana Eveland (7-4, 3.66) will start the first game for Albuquerque against Iowa righty Ramon Ortiz (5-3, 4.43) in a 6:05 p.m. MT start from Principal Park.
After an eight-game road trip through Iowa and Omaha, the 'Topes are back on July 4 for an seven-game homestand that kicks off with the biggest and best fireworks show of the season. 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.